Texas-Style Takeover

A $3.8 billion bid shakes up Big Oil

One thing about T. Boone Pickens: nobody ever faulted him for thinking small. "We did not come to town on a load of watermelons," declared the chairman of Mesa Petroleum Co. of Amarillo, Texas (1981 sales: $408 million) from his 39th-floor suite atop New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Pickens, 54, had come to New York loaded not with watermelons but with money, $ 1 billion in bank credits to be exact. He intended to use the money to buy up a company nearly 20 times Mesa's size. His...

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