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Calfrac Well Services Ltd. investor Wilks Brothers LLC on Monday raised its hostile bid for the oil field services company to as much as 25 cents a share from a prior 18 cents.

Calfrac last month rejected the prior offer and said it was sweetening its recapitalization plan to reduce debt, at a time when its market value has shrunk to about $22.5-million since the crash in fuel demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Calfrac declined to comment on the sweetened offer.

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Its shares rose 3 cents to 18.5 cents in morning trading.

Wilks Brothers, led by oil billionaires Dan and Farris Wilks, has been acquiring stakes in hard-hit services firms in the United States and has been trying to buy Calfrac’s U.S. business since July. The company owns nearly 20 per cent of Calfrac.

The investor group on Monday said its new offer would go up to 25 cents a share, provided the total deal amount does not exceed $21.1-million.

Under the Calfrac management offer, shareholders can choose to either take 15 cents in cash for each share held and two warrants or can hold on to their shares and take just the warrants.

A special meeting of Calfrac shareholders to vote on either offer is scheduled for Oct. 16.

Calfrac remains in default of $431.8-million to senior unsecured noteholders.

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