The Taking of Getty Oil
Pennzoil, Texaco, and the Takeover Battle That Made History
A larger-than-life account of family, greed, and a courtroom showdown between Big Oil rivals from the New York Times–bestselling author of Private Empire.
Pulitzer Prize–winning author Steve Coll is renowned for “his ability to take complicated, significant business stories and turn them into quick-reading engaging narratives” (Chicago Tribune). Coll is at the height of his talents in this “riveting” tale of one of the most spectacular—and catastrophic—corporate takeovers of all time (Newsday).
As the head of a sprawling oil empire, J. Paul Getty was once the world’s richest man. But by 1984, eight years after his death, Getty’s legacy was in tatters: His children were locked in a bitter feud over the family trust and the company he founded was riven by boardroom turmoil. Then Pennzoil made an agreement with Getty’s son, Gordon, to purchase Getty Oil. It was a done deal—until Texaco swooped in to claim the $10 billion prize.
What followed was an epic legal battle that pit “good ole boy” J. Hugh Liedtke of Pennzoil against the Wall Street brokers behind Texaco’s offer. The scandalous details of the case would shock the business world and change the landscape of the oil industry forever.
With a large cast of colorful characters and the dramatic pacing of a novel, The Taking of Getty Oil is a “suspenseful” and “always intriguing” chronicle of one of the most fascinating chapters in American corporate history (Publishers Weekly).
The financial disarray in which J. Paul Getty's death in 1976 left his family and the Getty Oil Company has led to sibling contention, corporate intrigue, courtroom high drama and, most recently, to an unprecedented $11-billion damage judgment over the Texaco-Pennzoil acquisition. Using "reconstructed dialogue'' and suspenseful narrative, Washington Post financial writer Coll spins the story of family trustee Gordon Getty who sows confusion; a beset Getty Oil management; Texas oil-patch ``good ole boy'' Hugh Liedtke of Pennzoil fulfilling his dream to buyout Getty, only to be outmaneuvered by Texaco's Wall Street merger-brokersbut eventually winning in a down-home jury trial the biggest civil monetary damage award ever. Coll's behind-the-scenes account of investment banking and legal high jinks is at times startling and always intriguing. Major ad/promo; first serial to the Los Angeles Times Magazine.
I was in the middle of all of this
I was working as a paralegal for Getty Oil at the time. I look forward to reading this.
I remember that one day, we went home, knowing we’d be working for Pennzoil, and the next morning, Texaco had bought the company. It was closed door dealings, and I seem to recall that Gorgon Getty was conveniently not invited to that meeting.