A furious Pennzoil filed suit and started a bitter legal feud that lasted for the following four years, which pushed Texaco into bankruptcy, until a settlement of $3 billion, brokered by Carl Icahn, was reached. At the time, Cal Icahn, a noted corporate raider and financier, accumulated over 13% of Texaco's stock in a failed attempt to take control of the board.
However, the settlement, in which Icahn acted as a catalyst, removed the dark clouds hanging over Texaco and Pennzoil. As a result, both companies were able to move on and refocus on business. The resulting gains in stock prices also got Icahn some sizable financial windfall.
In the end, the biggest winners of all were the law firms, as Texas lawyer Joseph Jamail (whom Icahn mentioned in the video below) reportedly got $600 million for leading Pennzoil's attack against Texaco.
Here is a rare video of Carl Icahn recounting the event at Caroline's Comedy Club in Manhattan, New York. (Warning: a bit PG-13 at around 1:21 and the very end of the clip.)
Dian L. Chu
About the author:
Mr. Huebscher is the founder and CEO of Advisor Perspectives, a web site and newsletter that provides investment strategy analysis for financial advisors and wealth managers. In 1982, he founded the investment software division of Thomson Financial, where he created the PORTIA product, a portfolio management system for institutional investors. In 1990, he founded Hub Data, a market data redistribution service, which he sold to Advent Software in 1998. He has also worked in the account aggregation field, as a consultant to both vendors and wealth managers. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School (1982) and Connecticut College (1976).