File Size: 2317 KB
Print Length: 584 pages
Publisher: Open Road Media (June 13, 2017)
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
inside was okay
overall i was happy with this purchase oaky okayoka a, The Getting of Getty Oil is as exciting as The Barbarians at the Door. It starts with the Founder, J. Paul Getty a brilliant investor who aggregates important and profitable oil assets, but this legacy - complicated by personal life, multiple relationships and a museum trust - is passed on to his son, Gordon, whose interests lie outside of business - songs. Immediately, Gordon unwittingly starts off a process by the conclusion of which this individual loses control of Getty Oil, and two suitors - Pennzoil and Texaco - outbid one another almost bankrupting themselves, and in the process, much vaunted CEOs and attorneys reputation and careers get sullied. The interpersonal dynamics to control Getty Oil between Gordon (controlling 40% of Getty Oil at as the elder of the Getty Family), William (heading the Museum Trust, controlling 14% of Getty Oil), and Sid Peterson (CEO of Getty Oil) each having their own agenda, results in blood in drinking water, and two sharks - Liedtke of Pennzoil and McKinley of Texaco - circling towards Getty Essential oil. Gordon advised by cost fueled advisers waffles between Pennzoil and Texaco offer - and finally, closes the deal Texaco. When McKinley thinks he has own, Liedtke unleashes Jamail, the king of tort, on Texaco, and gets a billion verdict. Bankrupted Texaco, finally settles. Each one of the victors (at least at some point of the transaction), either it is Gordon, Peterson, Liedtke, or Mckinley finally loses some ground - they do not achieve their dream fo acquiring " full" control of Getty Oil, but rather relinquishes that initial power base.
The narration, pacing, the entire, characterizations by Steve Coll is extraordinary. The fast paced nature of the book makes it a page turner. But for a student of business, each of these follies also has instructive value. A minor mistake of attorneys of Skadden & Arps not filing an answer results in the trail, pros & cons of fast-paced negotiations on intricate M& A, the question of entering a test, etc. needs to be reflected and in hubris filled story lies classes for future years., Getty Oil was a large oil company in the first 1980’s. It was never one of the “Seven Sisters”, the biggest oil companies on earth, but it was worth enormous amounts and was manipulated by a family trust and the Getty Museum. For a number of reasons, the company became a takeover target, and was eventually acquired by Texaco, another large olive oil company. The whole takeover process, such as the eventual legal cases, were packed with high-priced attorneys and bankers, intrigue, incompetence, rivalries and consequences. From the end, the unlikeliest of characters walks away with the biggest trophy.
=== The Good Stuff ===
* This is a complex tale of high finance, legal maneuvers, agreements, trust funds and company intrigue. Steve Coll really does a masterful job of explaining the storyplot in simple terms and keeping the story moving. There are a variety of named characters, but it is kept down and their role are kept clear. Even though finance and law are not my specialties, it was easy to understand the plot lines.
* Coll writes in a succinct and lively style. The storyline can get a lttle bit tedious, but the text remains lively and interesting.
5. The plot is probably more complex, and twisted, than any fiction author would dare to offer. We have the ornate and slightly crazed heir, the greedy bankers, the shark lawyers, an entrenched executive and board of directors, the shadowy museum director and billions of dollars in cash. In addition to the last hand is dealt with a small-time lawyer, once step above ambulance-chaser.
* The book offers a nice check out how business was done on 1980’s Wall Street. Not just are the cut-throat strategies revealed, but there is also an study of the men and women involved. And Hollywood movies to the contrary, there is a sort of code-of-ethics behind all of the players.
=== The Not-So-Good Stuff ===
* Regardless of the author’s best attempts, the story can drag a bit, especially during the numerous battles between Gordon Getty and the management of Getty Essential oil. In the book, Getty comes off as a lttle bit of a naïve child in the wonderful world of business, and his antics get a lttle bit tedious.
* The book was actually written in 1987, and is being re-released by Open Road Media. As with many of the books of this type, it would have been interesting to have a chapter to up-date the readers on new information since the original book was published.
=== Summary ===
This is an incredible story, although it takes some time and effort to understand it enough to appreciate what was going on. I possess always had an interest in the mechanics and personalities behind large business deals, and the publication doesn’t disappoint. And even though it is 30-year old information, the publication still seems relevant and timely. I would recommend the book to anyone with an interest in the topic.
=== Please note ===
I was able to read an enhance copy through the politeness of the publisher and NetGalley., A ‘big oil’ battle of the earlier which could have equally made an appearance as a television soap opera is brought to light in this succinct book, which considers the battle for Getty Essential oil that occurred in the mid-1980s.
This is a relatively light read that cuts to the chase, providing an informative insight into a huge court battle, opening family arguments, corporate history and far more in the process. The author writes within an accessible style, giving insider perspectives and focussed analysis that is buoyed by suspense and an interesting back story. This is far from a dry out read about a company dispute.
On one hand, it felt as though it was a big of any slower burner, but when the blend was lit there was no stopping it. No earlier knowledge was assumed and the author has done a good job in drilling down to the core facts and activities, leaving any dry or overly technical observations to other books to consider. Thus, it can be a very good travel companion, something not too light, not too heavy but ultra-informative and a damn good story to boot.
Why not make this part of your next holiday reading, if you have zero immediate need for this intelligence?
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