DIVESTITURE: A Taxing Decision

A Taxing Decision

Mobil Oil, the largest U.S. firm still doing business in South Africa, had staunchly refused to join the more than 170 American companies, including Exxon and General Motors, that have closed their operations in that country because of its racial policies. But last week Mobil announced that it is also pulling out. The firm will sell its $400 million petroleum refining and marketing operations to General Mining Union Corp., a South African firm, for $155 million.

Mobil's decision was prompted by a change in U.S. tax law that was intended to drive American companies out of South Africa. Since last year...

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