Corporate Strategy: Big Oil's Housecleaning

Diversify! That was the buzzword in Big Oil boardrooms during the 1970s, when the companies were trying to stash away their megaprofits in ventures that would pay off in leaner times. But now, just when the investments should be ripening, many have turned up sour. Last week Exxon said that it is trying to find a buyer for its moribund office-equipment division, an enterprise that has cost the company some $100 million. When Exxon challenged Xerox, IBM and Wang by introducing its Vydec word processors, Qyx typewriters and Qwip facsimile transmitters...

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