The Taking of Getty Oil

  • by Steve Coll
  • Narrated by Steven Cooper
  • 17 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A true story of family, ambition, and greed in the most bitter and controversial takeover struggle in business history. The high-stakes fight between Texaco and Pennzoil to take over Getty Oil is a startling and intriguing case involving family infighting, courtroom drama, and corporate intrigue that ends in bankruptcy and the largest damages award in American history.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Incredible research

Extremely well researched. I could see where someone would say it's somewhat dry. The complete story of the biggest merger up till that time in the 80s and the lawsuits that followed and almost destroyed both companies involved in the lawsuit. The speaker has an awesome voice for movie previews or a murder mystery TV show but it's hard to follow the story through his voice. There are a couple times where the story and the speakers voice match tempo but it's not till late in the book and it's only long enough for you to realize how distracting it has been.
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- Jesse

Sibling contention, intrique, courtroom drama

Steve Coil, a correspondent for the Washington Post has painstakingly reconstructed telephone conversations, meetings and written memoranda to set out the events leading to the litigation between Pennzoil and Texaco. Coil has maintained his reporter’s objectivity, not condemning anyone but staying neutral throughout the book. The book was originally published in 1987.

The first part of the book is about the Getty family and their inner fights. The middle of the book is about Getty oil and its corporate officers and board members and their relationship with Gordon Getty. The last part of the book is about the trial.

Three and a half years of haggling and infighting preceded the legal judgment. Gordon Getty, one of the J. Paul Getty’s sons became sole trustee of the Sarah C. Getty Trust, which owned 40% of Getty Oil’s stock. Gordon Getty maneuvered for control of the company in opposition of the company management and his family. Pennzoil thought they did a takeover in January of 1984 in an agreement in principle to buy the bloc of Getty Stock, then the following week Texaco offered more money and bought the same stock.

On November 1985 a Houston court awarded a ten billion dollar judgment against Texaco to Pennzoil. It is the largest damages award yet made in an American business case.

The book by Coil reads like a novel with lots of drama, family conflicts and business fighting. I found the book most interesting. Steven Cooper narrated the book.
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- Jean

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-10-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios