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T. Boone Pickens Calls It Again

The combination of GlobalSantaFe (GSF) and Transocean (RIG) underlines what I've said in a few articles in the past: T. Boone Pickens knows what he's doing, and he's worth paying attention to.

GlobalSantaFe is up $5.50 so far this morning and Transocean is up more than $7. At Stockpickr we keep track of the investor's top holdings with the T. Boone Pickens portfolio.

GlobalSantaFe is Pickens' third-largest holding. In the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2006, he bought 524,359 shares of the company, bringing his total to 1.35 million shares. GlobalSantaFe provides offshore drilling services to the oil and gas industry and operates a fleet of rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, West Africa and the Middle East.

When oil was near $50 earlier this year, Pickens said it would hit bottom and rise. It did, and shares of GlobalSantaFe followed. The stock appears to have higher to run. Analysts are projecting the company will earn $7.17 a share this year and $9.16 next year, up from $3.77 in 2006, putting GSF's forward price-to-earnings ratio at around 7.

With operating earnings exceeding $1 billion and net debt of just $220 million, GlobalSantaFe makes an excellent takeover target. In a recent analyst note, Citigroup characterized GlobalSantaFe as a likely takeover candidate. Super hedge fund investor George Soros, whose holdings also can be found at Stockpickr, is a shareholder of GlobalSantaFe as well.

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