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T. Boone Pickens, an Oracle of Oil and corporate raider, died at 91



T. Boone Pickens, the wild cat of Oracle of Oil, the founder of the hedge fund and philanthropist who rewrote the corporate raider book, has died. He was 91.

He died Wednesday of natural causes.

Pickens was in a state of decline, suffering a series of strokes and a severe decline in 2017. At the end of 2017, he placed his 100 square miles of Mesa Vista Ranch in the Texas Panhandle for $ 250 million, and for several months he later closed his energy hedge fund, BP Capital, to outside investors.

In a career beginning with Phillips Petroleum, Pickens later pursued clean energy projects in wind and natural gas.

He was also a major Republican political donor, supporting George W. Bush in Texas gubernatorial and presidential races. Guests at his ranch included Dick Cheney and Nancy Reagan.

Boon Pickens quail hunting at Mesa Vista Ranch.

Broadcast: Mesa Vista Ranch

He also donated more than $ 1 billion over the years, including hundreds of millions to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University, which he named its renovated football stadium after it.

Thomas Boone Pickens, Jr. was born May 22, 1928 in Holdenville, Oklahoma. His father was a "landowner" who sold oil and mineral rights. During World War II, his mother was responsible for setting standards in her region as head of local pricing administration.

As a 12-year-old paper, Pickens starts with 28 clients, but acquiring adjacent routes

"It was my first introduction to rapid expansion through acquisition – a talent I would cultivate in later years," he recalled. on your website.

His family moved to Amarillo, Texas, where he attended high school. After graduating in 1951 at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma) majoring in geology, Pickens began work at Phillips Petroleum.

He quit three years later to drill wild cat wells, first establishing Petroleum Exploration with $ 2,500 cash and $ 100,000 employed. money for projects in the Texas panhandle, and later the creation of Altair Oil & Gas for exploration in western Canada. The companies became Mesa Petroleum, which Pickens published in 1964 and became one of the largest independent oil and gas companies in the United States.

Boone Pickens, Chairman, BP Capital Management

Adam Jeffrey | CNBC

"Pickens was one of thousands who traveled through the oil states, using the booths for public telephone cabinets, hurrying, looking at deals. They sell them, gather crew and drill well and, if they are lucky, hit oil or gas, dreaming through all the time to make it big, really big, "writes Daniel Ergin in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Prize: The Epic Pursuit of Oil, Money and Power.

" Pickens is far beyond most. He was clever and astute, able to analyze and think through a problem step by step. "

Corporate raider:" Big oil has never been the same "

Five years after Mesa was created, Pickens turned to Hugoton Production to produce hostile takeover, as the value of Hugoton's extensive gas reserves in Kansas downplayed the low Although Mesa is significantly smaller than Hugoton, Pickens has garnered support from its shareholders, promising greater returns and better governance.

In the early 1980s, Pickens brought his corporate talent to the forefront. new levels by investing in pieces of undervalued oil companies, trying to capture them and make big profits, even if the buyout fails. As described on his website:

"Pickens and his young group of hungry oil managers caught on to the monster and shook it , like never been fought before. They rode this monster and threw a little, but Big Oil was never the same again. "

After accumulating over 5% of the city's inventory for years, Pickens led Mesa's 1982 bid to acquire the much larger oil company. The City Office counter-attack by trying to acquire Mesa. A wild bidding war began, with Occidental Petroleum eventually winning city services for $ 4 billion. Pickens still reaped $ 30 million in profits from his stock.

Later, Pickens made similar but unsuccessful attempts with Phillips Petroleum, Unocal and Gulf Oil. Gulf, one of the Seven Sisters' oil giants, defended himself by referring to Chevron as his "white knight". Chevron swallows Swallow for $ 13.2 billion, but Pickens netted $ 404 million for Mesa shareholders for their stake in the Gulf.

Some accuse Pickens of being a "green producer" in which an investor buys large sums of money from a company and then starts an acquisition. to raise the price before downloading. But Pickens rejected the label. "I have never sent names to anyone," he said in an interview on his website.

But it is not disputed that Pickens' tactics have made him a package. They also landed him on the cover of Time magazine. There he was in 1985, sitting behind a bunch of poker chips – blue chips – and holding hands with cards decorated with oily chuckles.

"He was Gordon Gecko before Wall Street and his influence was strong," The David Gels of the New York Times wrote in a January 2018 profile referring to the villain in the 1987 Oliver Stone movie. 19659002] As a corporate raider, Pickens is the leader of the startup shareholder movement. He founded the United Shareholders Association in 1986 to put pressure on corporate leaders "to return shareholder companies."

"I have always believed that maintaining the status quo inevitably leads to failure," Pickens writes in a September 2017 column on Forbes. "Then the notion that shareholders own companies and executives are employees is alien to the big oil companies that would rather function as empires. I was hell-bent on shaking things up. I was a destroyer before the destroyers were cool." [19659018] Half-life at 68

In 1996, at the age of 68, Pickens sold Mesa, but instead of retiring, he started a new business, BP Capital Management, a hedge fund focused on the energy industry. (BP means his name, not British Petroleum.)

T. Boone Pickens, founder and CEO of BP Capital LLC.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

"For most people, this would be the end. For me, it was half time," he writes in the Forbes column.

The hedge fund managed billions of dollars for investors until Pickens closed it in January 2018 because of its declining health.

One year after the hedge fund was launched, it formed Pickens Fuel Corp. in 1997, promoting natural gas as an alternative to gasoline. In 2007, he spent $ 100 million of his own money on launching the Pickens Plan, a campaign to declare US energy independence.

The same year, oil announced plans to build the largest wind farm in the world – 4,000 megawatts – in the Texas Panhandle, but the ensuing low natural gas prices helped to break the plans. He turned his attention to congress to offer incentives for converting diesel trucks into compressed natural gas.

"I'm all American," Pickens said. "All energy in America exceeds imports."

"Yes, I'm for Donald Trump"

During the 2004 Bush reelection campaign, Pickens helped fund the Fast Boat Veterans for Truth campaign. , which questioned John Kerry's Vietnam military records and helped undermine the Democratic presidential nomination.

He endorsed Republican Rudy Giuliani in 2008 and Donald Trump in 2016.

"Yes, I'm for Donald Trump," Pickens announced in May 2016. "I'm tired of having politicians as president of USA. Let's try something different. "

He supported Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and his attempts to restrict visitors to predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.

" I would exclude Muslims from coming to the United States until we can check on these people. " , he said. "Cut 'em out until we can figure out who they are."

In addition to Republican politics, Pickens has benefited from many organizations, including Texas' Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ($ 50 million in 2007). His $ 165 million donation to the OSU Athletic Department helped fund the renovation of the stadium. The school named the Boone Pickens Stadium complex to thank him for what he said is the largest one-time donation so far for any university athletic department.

On Valentine's Day 2014, 85-year-old Pickens married Tony Brinker, widow of restaurateur in Dallas Norman Brinker, at a small ceremony in the chapel of the Mesa Vista family. His four previous marriages ended in divorce. She survives him, as do three daughters and two sons from previous marriages.

Days after Pickens suffered a "Texas decline" in July 2017, he wrote a post on LinkedIn entitled "Accepting (or Accepting) Mortality." [19659002] "Now, don't think for a minute that I'm sick," he writes. "The truth is that when you are in the oil business, as I have been all my life, you pierce your fair share of dry holes, but you never lose your optimism. There is a story I tell about a geologist who fell to 10. When he was building along the fifth floor, he thought, "So far." This is the way to get closer to life. Be the eternal optimist who is excited to see what the next decade will bring. "


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