Jaws: The Australian

A raider closes in on Texaco

When Robert Holmes a Court comes calling, most corporate chiefs hide the company silver. A sly and extraordinarily patient Australian financier, Holmes a Court has built Bell Group, a $2 billion corporate empire that reaches from oil and gas interests near Tasmania to theaters in London's West End, by capturing troubled companies one at a time. Now the raider is circling around Texaco, and no one is entirely certain of his intentions.

Holmes a Court, 49, made an initial move three months ago, after Texaco was forced into bankruptcy proceedings by its debilitating legal battle with Pennzoil. He announced that he...