Transocean Stock Jumps After Admitting Criminal Charges in Gulf Oil Spill

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With regulatory fines and charges out of the way, analysts saw Thursday's settlement as potentially driving returns of capital to shareholders and C-Suite aggression.

"With Macondo out of the way this opens the door for acquisitions, dividends, and buybacks," wrote Credit Suisse analyst Gregory Lewis, in a note to clients, which highlighted the 79 cent dividend Transocean paid as of early 2012.

"We think the quantification of the liability should give ratings agencies more comfort in rating Transocean's debt, allowing RIG greater financial freedom to reinvest in the business through value-added newbuilds and/or acquisitions," added Matthew Conlan of Wells Fargo, in a note to clients.

As part of the settlement, Transocean will pay $1 billion in CWA penalties, in addition to $150 million to the National Academy of Sciences over a five-year period, $150 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation over a three-year period and $100 in a federal court fine.

While the DoJ's settlement doesn't cover any potential claims brought by the National Resources Damage Assessment process, it also absolves Transocean from any prospective violation of Oil Pollution Act liability for environmental damage from the oil spill.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York