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Home / US / T. Boone Pickens, "Oracle of Oil" and corporate raider, dies at the age of 91 years

T. Boone Pickens, "Oracle of Oil" and corporate raider, dies at the age of 91 years

T. Boone Pickens, the wildcatter "Oracle of Oil", hedge fund founder and philanthropist who rewrote the corporate raiders game book, has died. He was 91 years old.

He died on Wednesday for natural reasons.

Pickens suffered a series of strokes and a heavy fall in the Texas Panhandle Mesa Vista Ranch in the market for $ 250 million in 2017, and several months later closed his BP Capital energy hedge fund to outside investors.

In a career that began at Phillips Petroleum, Pickens later pursued a clean path to energy projects in wind power and natural gas.

He was also a great Republican political giver who assisted George W. Bush at the governors and presidential races in Texas. His ranch guests included Dick Cheney and Nancy Reagan.

Boone Pickens quail hunting on the Mesa Vista Ranch.

Handout: Mesa Vista Ranch.

He has also contributed more than $ 1 billion over the years, including hundreds of millions to His alma mater, Oklahoma State University, which named their renovated football stadium after him.

Thomas Boone Pickens Jr. was born on May 22, 1928 in Holdenville, Oklahoma. His father was a "farmer" who sold oil and mineral rights. During the Second World War, his mother was responsible for rationing in her region as head of the local price administration office.

Pickens started out as a 12-year-old newsboy with 28 customers, but acquired a route next to each other. At one point, he quadrupled his business.

"This was my first entry into rapid expansion through acquisition – a talent I would perfect in later years," he recalled on his website.

His family moved to Amarillo, Texas, where he attended high school. After completing his geology studies at Oklahoma A & M (now Oklahoma State) in 1951, Pickens worked for Phillips Petroleum.

He left the company three years later to drill wildcat wells and founded Petroleum Exploration with $ 2,500 in cash and $ 100,000 in borrowed currency for projects in the Texas Panhandle and later exploration for Altair Oil & Gas in western Canada , The companies became Mesa Petroleum, which listed Pickens in 1964 and became one of the largest independent oil and gas companies in the United States.

Boone Pickens, Chairman of BP Capital Management

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

"Pickens was one of thousands who drove through the oil states, using public payphones as their offices, were hectic, looking for deals, selling, crewing, and well drilled and, if they were lucky, oil or gas hit Daniel Yergin wrote in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power": "Pickens has come farther than most of the others. He was "smart and smart, with the ability to analyze and think through a problem step by step."

Corporate Raider: "Big Oil Was Never the Same"

Five years after Mesa was founded, Pickens directed Hugoton Production on a hostile takeover as the value of Hugton's extensive gas reserves in Kansas overshadowed the low stock price. Although Mesa was significantly smaller than Hugoton, Pickens garnered the support of its shareholders by promising higher returns and better management.

In the early 1980s, Pickens took his raider talent to a new level and invested in pieces of undervalued oil companies to try to take them over and make big profits, even if the buyout failed. As described on his website:

"Pickens and his young gang hungry Mesa Petroleum Manager grabbed a monster and shook it as if it had never been jostled, rode with this monster and was thrown with something other than Big Oil never again the same thing. "

After accumulating more than 5% of Cities Service's holdings over the years, in 1982 Pickings directed Mesa's attempt to acquire the much larger oil company. Cities Service is trying to acquire Mesa. It was followed by a wild bidding war, in which Occidental Petroleum finally won Cities Service for 4 billion US dollars. Pickens still earned $ 30 million on his stock.

Later, Pickens made similar but failed attempts with Phillips Petroleum, Unocal, and Gulf Oil. Gulf, one of the "Seven Sister" oil giants, defended himself by turning to Chevron as his "white knight". Chevron swallowed Gulf for $ 13.2 billion, but Pickens earned $ 404 million from Mesa's shareholders for their golf share.

Some accused Pickens of being a "green mailer", where an investor bought large amounts of a business, and then started an acquisition to raise the price before the rescue. But Pickens declined this label. "I have never extorted anyone," he said in an interview on his website.

But there was no doubt that Pickens' takeover tactic made him a bundle. They also landed him on the cover of Time magazine. There, in 1985, he was sitting behind a stack of poker chips – blue chips – holding a hand with cards decorated with oil spud sticks.

"He was Gordon Gekko in front of & # 39; Wall Street & # 39 ;, and his influence was profound." David Gelles of the New York Times wrote a profile in January 2018 referring to the villain in Oliver Stone's 1987 film.

As a corporate robber, Pickens was a leader of the emerging shareholder rights movement. He founded the United Shareholders Association in 1986 to pressure corporate executives to "return the companies to the owners, who are the shareholders."

"I've always believed that maintaining the status quo inevitably leads to failure," Pickens wrote a September 2017 column for Forbes. "Back then, the idea of ​​shareholders owning companies and management was alien to the big oil companies that wanted to act more like empires, I really wanted to shake things up, I was a disturber before the distractions were cool."

] & # 39; halftime & # 39; At the age of 68

In 1996, at the age of 68, Pickens sold Mesa, but did not retire, but founded a new company, BP Capital Management, a hedge fund focusing on the energy industry. (BP stands for his name, not British Petroleum.)

T. Boone Pickens, Founder and CEO of BP Capital LLC.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

"For most people that would have been the end, for me it was halftime," he wrote in the Forbes column.

The hedge fund managed billions of dollars for investors until Pickens closed it in January 2018 due to its waning health.

One year after the hedge fund was launched, he founded Pickens Fuel Corp. in 1997. and promoted natural gas as an alternative to gasoline. In 2007, he spent $ 100 million launching the Pickens Plan, a campaign to explain US energy independence.

In the same year, the oilman announced plans for the construction of the largest wind farm in the world – 4,000 megawatts. in the Texas Panhandle, but subsequent low natural gas prices helped derail the plans. He focused on getting Congress to offer incentives to convert lorries from diesel to compressed natural gas. "I'm all American," Pickens said. "Every energy in America beats the import."

"Yes, I'm for Donald Trump"

During Bush's re-election campaign in 2004, Pickens helped with the campaign "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," which challenged John Kerry's Vietnam War record and helped establish that Undermine Democratic presidential bid.

He supported Republican Rudy Giuliani in 2008 and Donald Trump in 2016.

"Yes, I'm for Donald Trump," Pickens explained in May 2016. "I'm sorry I'm a politician as president Let's try it differently. "

He supported Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and his attempts to prevent visitors from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.

"I would prevent the Muslims from entering the US until we can examine these people," he said. "Cut them off until we can find out who they are."

Apart from Republican politics, Pickens was a benefactor to many organizations, including the University of Texas's Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the Houston MD Anderson Cancer Center (2007) ($ 50 million). His $ 165 million donation to the Sports Department of his OSU helped finance the stadium renovation. The school named the complex Boone Pickens Stadium to thank for the supposedly largest single donation ever made to a sports department at the university.

On Valentine's Day 2014, 85-year-old Pickens married Toni Brinker, the widow of Dallas restorer Norman Brinker, in a small ceremony in the Mesa Vista family chapel. His four previous marriages ended in divorce. She survives him as well as three daughters and two sons from previous marriages.

Days after Pickens suffered a "fall in Texas" in July 2017, he wrote a LinkedIn post titled "Accepting (or Embracing) Mortality." [19659002] "Well, do not think for a minute that I'm sick," he wrote. "The truth is, if you're in the oil business as if I've been all my life, you drill your fair share of dry holes, but you never lose your optimism." There's a story I tell about the geologist, who has fallen from a 10th When he left the fifth floor, he thought to himself: 'So far, so good.' So one can approach the life Be the eternal optimist, who is curious what that next decade. "

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