He's Hungry to Buy an Airline

High-roller Marvin Davis mounts a $5.4 billion bid for United

Other than luck, what an oilman needs most is persistence. Marvin Davis has plenty of both. The bulky son of a dress manufacturer from Newark, Davis made his first billion dollars in less than 20 years as a Denver-based wildcatter with a salesman's knack for raising capital and a blessed instinct for drilling gushers. Now, amid the takeover frenzy gripping the airline industry, Davis has set his cap for a giant carrier.

Only two months after Northwest Airlines rebuffed his $2.6 billion bid, Davis has bounced back with an even grander scheme. Last week he offered to pay $5.4 billion, or...

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