Corporate Fear and Trembling

Worried oil companies wonder where Pickens will strike next

An extraordinary specter is haunting the leaders of some of America's largest corporations. The specter is a Texan--a very rich and wily one. His name is T. (for Thomas) Boone Pickens Jr. The danger executives see is that he may be out to buy their company, and when Pickens attacks, his prey rarely escapes unscathed. Indeed, a remarkable run of successes has made T. Boone Pickens, 56, president of Amarillo-based Mesa Petroleum, probably the most feared corporate raider on the business scene today.

Last month, in order to end a takeover fight, Phillips Petroleum agreed to buy the 8.9 million shares...

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