Business: A Kingdom Besieged

BUSINESSMEN have always admired the entrepreneur who has a grand, imperial design. But 1970 is turning out to be the twilight of empires that were built hastily on ideas, optimism and debt. Last week John M. King, 43, joined the ranks of those whose achievements and future have been cast into shadow by a combination of tight money and public skepticism.

From his base in Denver, King in the past decade has built a complex of companies that explore for and exploit a wide variety of natural resources. Among them are oil and natural...

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