General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) could become one of the top players in the oil services and equipment industry if it decides to bid for Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI).

A Justice Department lawsuit filed this week against Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) to stop the merger of the world’s second- and third-largest oilfield service companies could soon put Baker Hughes back in play, with GE seen as the most likely bidder. Halliburton and Baker Hughes have said they plan to contest the government’s case, which could delay the timing of any future takeover offers. In December, GE was said to be exploring bids for various assets Halliburton was marketing in an attempt to secure antitrust approval for the deal.

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