T. Boone Pickens
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|T. Boone Pickens|
T. Boone Pickens, Jr.
22, 1928 (1928-05-22) |
Holdenville, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Alma mater||Oklahoma A&M College - Stillwater|
|Occupation||Financier; Chairman, BP Capital Management|
|Net worth||US$3.0 billion (2007)|
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Thomas Boone Pickens, Jr. (born May 22, 1928) is an American businessman who chairs the hedge fund BP Capital Management. He was a well-known takeover operator during the 1980s. With an estimated current[update] net worth of about $3 billion, he is ranked by Forbes as the 117th-richest person in America and ranked 369th in the world.
 Early life
Pickens was born in Holdenville, Oklahoma. His father worked as an oil and mineral landman (rights leaser). During World War II, his mother ran the local Office of Price Administration, rationing gasoline and other goods in four counties. Pickens was the first child born via Caesarean section in the history of Holdenville hospital.
At age 12, Pickens delivered newspapers. He quickly expanded his newspaper route from 28 papers to 156. Pickens later cited his boyhood job as an early introduction to "expanding quickly by acquisition," a business practice he favored later in life.
When the oil boom in Oklahoma ended in the late 1930s, Pickens' family moved to Amarillo, Texas. Pickens never served in the military but instead attended Texas A&M on a basketball scholarship but lost the scholarship and transferred to Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University), where he majored in Geology and was also a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. He graduated from Oklahoma A&M with a degree in geology in 1951. Following his graduation, Pickens was employed by Phillips Petroleum. He worked for Phillips until 1954. In 1956, following his period as a wildcatter, he founded the company that would later become Mesa Petroleum.
By 1981, Mesa had grown into one of the largest independent oil companies in the world, and Pickens shifted his focus to acquiring other oil and gas companies. He spent much of the decade targeting undervalued companies, making solicited and unsolicited buyout bids and other merger and acquisition activity. This made Pickens a celebrity during the 'deal-making' 80s. His most publicized deals included attempted buyouts of Cities Service, Gulf Oil, Phillips Petroleum, and Unocal. During this period, Mesa did complete successful acquisitions of Pioneer Petroleum and the mid-continent assets of Tenneco.
These as well as other deals placed Pickens at the center of controversy during the 80s. His celebrity rose so quickly after the Gulf Oil takeover bid that he appeared on the cover of Time magazine and briefly considered running for president in the 1988 elections. During this period, he was often characterized as a corporate raider and greenmailer, as many of his deals were not completed though Pickens and the shareholders he represented received substantial profits through the eventual sale of their stock. His later takeover targets included Newmont Mining, a New York-based firm, Diamond Shamrock, and Koito Mfg., Ltd., a Japanese auto-parts manufacturer, making substantial gains in the process. He was also involved in the creation of the United Shareholders Association (USA), which from 1986–1993 attempted to influence the governance of several large companies. After nearly two years of periodic hearing and debate, in July 1998 the Securities and Exchange Commission voted 4–1 to approve a one-share, one-vote rule, a primary USA objective.
On the local level, Pickens chaired the Board of Regents of West Texas State University in Canyon and in 1987–1988 contributed to the restoration of the administration building known as "Old Main". He was also active in the Republican Party in Potter County. Pickens organized a campaign in the mid-1980s against the Amarillo Globe-News newspaper, for what he claimed was inaccurate reporting about his deals and Mesa. Although the newspaper owner, Morris Communications, replaced its publisher twice during the conflict, Pickens' attempts to have the paper change its editorial policy failed. Shortly thereafter, in 1989, Pickens and Mesa moved to a suburb of Dallas.
In 1997 Pickens founded BP Capital Management (then called BP Energy Fund) — the initials standing for "Boone Pickens" and not related to British Petroleum. He holds a 46% interest in the company which runs two hedge funds, Capital Commodity and Capital Equity, both of which invest primarily in traditional energy companies such as oil, natural gas, and nuclear power corporations like Halliburton, Schlumberger, and Shaw Group.
In 2006, Pickens earned $990 million from his equity in the two funds and $120 million from his share of the 20% fees applied to fund profits. In 2007, Pickens earned $2.7 billion, as BP Capital Equity Fund grew by 24% after fees, and the then $590 million Capital Commodity fund grew 40%, thanks to, among others, large positions in the stocks of Suncor Energy, ExxonMobil and Occidental Petroleum.
Pickens has recently begun buying up subsurface water rights in Texas. CBS News reported in 2006 that Pickens' company, Mesa Water, bought ground water rights for 200,000 acres (800 km2) in Roberts County, Texas for $75 million, estimating the investment will be worth $1 billion. "'I know what people say—water's a lot like air. Do you charge for air? 'Course not; you shouldn't charge for water,' says Pickens. 'Well, OK, watch what happens. You won't have any water.'" 
 Natural gas
Pickens has been speaking out on the issue of peak oil, claiming that world oil production is about to enter a period of irrevocable decline. He has called for the construction of more nuclear power plants, the use of natural gas to power the country's transportation systems, and the promotion of alternative energy. Pickens' involvement with the natural gas fueling campaign is long-running. He formed Pickens Fuel Corp. in 1997 and began touting natural gas as the best vehicular fuel alternative because it is a domestic resource that, among many advantages, is cleaner-burning (Natural Gas Vehicles or NGVs emit up to 30% less pollution than gasoline or diesel vehicles) and reduces foreign oil consumption. Reincorporated as Clean Energy in 2001, the company now owns and operates natural gas fueling stations from British Columbia to the Mexican border.
 Political interests and contributions
Since 1980, Pickens has made over $5 million in political donations. He was a financial supporter of President George W. Bush and contributed heavily to both his Texas and national political campaigns. In 2004, Pickens contributed to Republican 527 groups, including a $3 million contribution to the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth attacking Bush's rival, John Kerry, and $2.5 million to the Progress for America advocacy group. In 2005, Pickens was among 53 entities that contributed the maximum of $250,000 to Bush's second inauguration.
On July 16, 2007, Pickens wrote an article for the National Review supporting Rudy Giuliani for President. "In Rudy Giuliani, a gracious and committed public servant I’ve known for many years, we see that rare blend of big-picture vision and proven track record of achieving the 'impossible.' We see a forward-looking, accomplished executive eager to tackle the challenges of today’s America and ensure that tomorrow we wake up stronger, freer, and more united than ever before." Pickens was an executive-committee member of the Rudy Giuliani presidential committee.
Pickens has said he has stopped giving to political campaigns and focused his advocacy on alternative energy such as solar and wind. The Washington Post says that "perhaps the strangest role" Pickens "has fashioned for himself is his current one: the billionaire speculator as energy wise man, an oil-and-gas magnate as champion of wind power, and a lifetime Republican who has become a fellow traveler among environmentally minded Democrats -- even though he helped finance the 'Swift boat' ads that savaged" Sen. John F. Kerry's presidential campaign. In an editorial, the New York Times reports Pickens "has decided that drilling for more oil is not the whole answer to the nation's energy problems.
 Swift Boat challenge
On November 6, 2007, Pickens reportedly offered a million dollars to anyone able to dispute any claims made in political ads by the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth (SVPT), a group he had supported during the 2004 presidential election. John Kerry, whose military record and anti-war activism during Vietnam was the target of the group's book and media campaign, sent Pickens a letter on November 16, 2007, accepting the challenge, requesting that Pickens donate the money to the Paralyzed Veterans of America should he succeed in disproving any of the SVPT claims. In response to Kerry's acceptance of the challenge, Pickens issued a letter the same day, narrowing the original challenge to the SVPT ads, and requiring Kerry to provide his Vietnam journal, all of his military records, specifically those covering the years after his active duty service, and copies of all movies and tapes made during his service. Pickens' letter also challenged Kerry to agree to donate $1 million to the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, if Kerry "cannot prove anything in the Swift Boat ads to be untrue." Kerry later accused Pickens of "parsing and backtracking" on his initial offer and wrote that "I am prepared to prove the lie and marshal all the evidence, the question is whether you are prepared to fulfill your obligation."
On June 22, 2008, a group of Vietnam veterans who previously served with and now work with Kerry accepted the challenge and sent a 12-page letter — with a 42-page attachment of military records to support their case — with which they claimed to rebut several of the accusations of the Swift boat group. Pickens has responded with a message stating "In reviewing your material, none of the information you provide speaks specifically to the issues contained in the ads,” he wrote, “and, as a result, does not qualify for the $1 million."
 Lobbying efforts to stop horse slaughter
Pickens lobbied for the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (HR 503) which would prohibit the slaughter for human consumption and the trade and transport of horse flesh and live horses intended for human consumption.
 Unsuccessful attempt to sell natural gas with a California Ballot Initiative
In November 2008, California voters rejected a referendum by a 60% to 40% margin regarding natural gas. Pickens owns Clean Energy Fuels Corporation, a natural gas fueling station company that was the primary backer of the November 2008 Proposition 10 on California's ballot. Much of the measure's sale of $5 billion in general fund bonds to provide alternative energy rebates and incentives ($9.8 billion after interest) could benefit Pickens' company to the exclusion of almost all other clean-vehicle fuels and technology.
Pickens has given more than $700 million away to charity.
 Donations to Oklahoma State University
Pickens has been a major financial contributor to his alma mater, the Stillwater campus of Oklahoma State University (OSU). Through his contributions, Pickens has spearheaded an effort to create an athletic village just north of the existing campus. In order to do so, hundreds of homes were purchased by the OSU administration using Pickens' contributions. Pickens' gift remains the largest donation to a university's athletic program in collegiate history. His total contributions to OSU come to over $400 million dollars. Over $265 million, or 66%, of his donations have been towards athletics. Pickens also has made substantial academic gifts to Oklahoma State University, particularly to the School of Geology, which is named for him.
On December 30, 2005, Pickens made a $165 million gift to Oklahoma State University. The New York Times reported that "the money spent less than an hour on December 30 in the account of the university's charity, O.S.U. Cowboy Golf Inc., before it was invested in a hedge fund controlled by Mr. Pickens, BP Capital Management." Pickens, who is on the board of the O.S.U. Cowboy Golf, waived any management fees for the OSU monies, however, and all profits of the fund go to growing the OSU gift. The gift is intended to help fund an upgrade of the football stadium and construction of an athletic village, but sparked controversy because OSU planned to use eminent domain to acquire residential property for the projects. The donation comes after a $70 million gift from Pickens to OSU in 2003, which was similarly structured using O.S.U. Cowboy Golf, Inc.
On July 28, 2007 the Board of Regents of Oklahoma State University approved a resolution to move $28 million from the OSU Foundation into Pickens' BP Capital Management company in Dallas. Oklahoma State has previously invested $277 million in the fund. Pickens has been waiving fees for the university's investments with his fund.
 Humanitarian contributions
Pickens and employees of his BP Capital LLC donated $7 million to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. The Chronicle of Philanthropy lists Pickens as among its largest charitable givers 2005 and 2006. He has donated nearly a half a billion dollars to philanthropic causes during his career.
On May 16, 2007, Pickens donated $100 million to two University of Texas health care institutions. The gifts were donated to the UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The donations are required to grow to $1 billion within twenty-five years before they can be disbursed by the recipient institutions.
On August 23, 2007, Bizjournals.com reported that Pickens is donating $2.5 million to Happy Hill Farm Academy/Home, a residential school for at-risk children and teenagers, to build a training center and guest lodge. Pickens donated $1 million to Happy Hill Farm for the construction of a new academic campus at the residential school in February 2007.
On December 5, 2007 the Dallas Business Journal reported that Pickens had donated $6 million to Jubilee Park located at S. Carroll Avenue and Lindsley/Parry Avenue in Dallas and would man a bulldozer to begin demolition of an abandoned building across the street from a kindergarten Head Start program in Jubilee Park.
On June 20, 2008 Pickens donated $25 million to the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine during a visit with Calgary Flames owner Harley Hotchkiss. 
On October 21, 2008, Pickens donated $5 million to the Downtown Dallas YMCA. The Downtown YMCA will now be renamed "T. Boone Pickens YMCA" in his honor. “I want this gift to encourage individuals, corporations and the entire city to make a serious commitment to fitness and health,” Boone Pickens said. “This money isn’t just helping people work out — it will revitalize this area and make the YMCA a place for the citizens of Dallas today, and will inspire our next generation to be healthy.” 
 Alternative energy
On September 19, 2007, Pickens told CNBC that the price of oil could rise to $100. "Demand is up and supply is flat, so it's got to go on up," said Pickens, whose company is betting on natural gas for vehicles. "I can give you an Oklahoma guarantee that natural gas will never sell above diesel and gasoline prices" as fuel for vehicles, Pickens added. On January 2, 2008, the first contract for $100 bbl oil was sold on the NYMEX exchange. In early July 2008, the price of oil briefly closed above $145 per barrel. By the beginning of September 2008, the price of oil settled to under $110 per barrel. By October 9, 2008, the price plummeted back below $85 per barrel. As of November 21, 2008, the price of oil had fallen below $50 a barrel, mostly riding fears of a global recession.
 Wind power
In June 2007, Pickens announced the intention to build the world's largest wind farm by installing large wind turbines in parts of four Texas Panhandle counties. The project would produce up to four gigawatts of electricity. Pickens' Mesa Power LP will undertake the construction. If completed, the farm would generate more than five times the 735 megawatts produced at the present largest such farm near Abilene, according to Susan Williams Sloan, spokesman for the American Wind Energy Association.
On August 16, 2007, Pickens' Mesa Power announced that it had filed documents with the state of Texas to add four gigawatts of electricity to the state grid. The filing with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) projected that the project would be completed in 2011 and would include up to 2,700 turbines on up to 200,000 acres (810 km2) in Roberts and adjacent counties in the Texas Panhandle. "We are now meeting with Panhandle landowners and negotiating wind lease and easement agreements," said Pickens. "We are excited at how quickly the pieces are falling into place."
On January 30, 2008, The Oklahoman reported that Pickens was ready to start buying wind turbines for the project within a month, that he planned to buy between 1,700 and 2,000 turbines, and that they will cost from $200 million to $300 million. Pickens added that he has been approached by twenty potential partners on the project but has not yet made a final decision. "We have not picked any banker and we have not picked any partner," Pickens said. "It is kind of nice ... I have decided I can get pretty far down the track before having to make those choices." Pickens predicted that similar wind farm projects could be built in the Texas Panhandle and the US-Canadian border in the future.
On July 17, 2008, the Texas Public Utilities Commission approved ratepayer funding of $4.98 billion in electric transmission lines to connect wind farms in the Texas Panhandle to the electric grid. This implements the provisions of a 2005 Texas law designed to promote new wind energy projects.
 The Pickens Plan
On July 8, 2008, Pickens announced a major energy policy proposal, called the Pickens Plan. The plan promotes "alternatives" to oil, including natural gas, wind, and solar. A major feature of the plan is replacing the 22% of its electricity that the United States gets from natural gas with wind energy, which would then allow that natural gas to provide 38% of the nation's fuel for transportation and reduce its dependence on foreign oil. The Pickens Plan calls for the United States to utilize its wind corridor in the middle of the country stretching from Texas through the Great Plains to the Canadian border. He noted in Congressional testimony in July 2008 that his plan would generate new jobs and provide economic stimulus to this area, while noting that it would also require new transmission lines which traditionally antagonize some environmentalists and/or nearby populations.
Critics of the plan, however, point out that it is self-serving: Pickens is a huge investor in wind power, and subsidies and mandates for wind power would help his personal financial position. The announcement of the plan also coincides with Pickens' need for federal subsidies for wind to be renewed, as he's already begun placing orders for his planned wind farm in Texas. Pickens usually answers this criticism, “I’m 80 years old, and I’m worth $4 billion. I have plenty of money. I think it shows leadership that I’m putting my money into the wind business, and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.”
Pickens plans to spend $58 million on his multi-media effort to promote the Pickens Plan. Pickens multi-media campaign includes old media, such as newspaper and TV, and new media, such as YouTube and Facebook. 
On July 29, 2008, Pickens told the San Francisco Chronicle that he sold 10 million shares of Yahoo! stock (likely losing $50M USD in the process) because he felt the sale to Microsoft championed by Carl Icahn would not happen.
As of October 7th, 2008 Yahoo Inc! (YHOO) has lost an additional 27.5% or $5.54/Share which would have resulted with an additional loss of $55M had he not sold his shares in July.
 Personal life
Pickens is married to Madeleine Pickens, a thoroughbred racehorse breeder. They live in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of north Dallas and own a ranch along the Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle. Pickens was earlier divorced from Beatrice Carr and from Lynn O'Brien.
In December 2008, the Texas Legislative Conference honored Pickens as its "Texan of the Year."
- Pickens, Boone, The First Billion is the Hardest: Reflections on a life of Comebacks and America's Energy Future, 2008, ISBN 0307395774
- Pickens, Boone, The Luckiest Guy in the World, 2001, ISBN 1587980193
- Pickens, Boone, Boone, 1987, ISBN 0395478111
- ^ a b Pickens Biography, 2007, University of Texas PDF.
- ^ Wieberg, Steve. "Tycoon's $165M gift to Oklahoma State raises both hopes and questions", USA Today, August 15, 2006.
- ^ a b c d e The Horatio Alger Association. "Boone Pickens, Chairman, Chevron Capital Management in Dallas, Texas"
- ^ a b Pickens, T. Boone (1987). Boone. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-41433-4. pp. 22-41.
- ^ Pickens, T. Boone (1987). Boone. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-41433-4. p. 73.
- ^ Pickens, T. Boone (1987). Boone. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-41433-4. pp. 149-260.
- ^ http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19850304,00.html March 4, 1985
- ^ a b T. Boone Pickens
- ^ Forbes.com. "Wall Street's Highest Earners" by Michael K. Ozanian and Peter J. Schwartz. May 21, 2007
- ^ Forbes.com. "Wall Street's Top Earners: Your Pain, Their Gain " by Peter J. Schwartz. April 15, 2008
- ^ "Investors have a big thirst for water", CBS News, August 16, 2006
- ^ T. Boone Pickens profile at Newsmeat.com
- ^ Drinkard, Jim (2005-01-17). "Donors get good seats, great access this week", USA Today. Retrieved on 25 May 2008.
- ^ "Financing the inauguration", USA Today. Retrieved on 25 May 2008.
- ^ "Some question inaugural's multi-million price tag", USA Today (2005-01-14). Retrieved on 25 May 2008.
- ^ Rudy the Executive: An accomplished record to bank on, National Review, July 16, 2007
- ^ American Thinker. "Happy 40th to The American Spectator!" by Christopher Alleva. November 5, 2007.
- ^ http://www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/bulletin/bulletin_080722.htm
- ^ a b Johnson, Glen (2007-11-16). "Kerry takes oilman Pickens up on $1 million Swift Boat challenge". Associated Press.
- ^ Rainey, James (2007-11-17). "Kerry takes on 'Swift Boat' challenge". The Los Angeles Times.
- ^ "Senator Kerry Responds to Pickens' Moving the Goalposts". John Kerry for U.S. Senate.
- ^ "Veterans Rebut ‘Swift Boat’ Charges Against Kerry in Answer to Challenge".
- ^ "T. Boone Pickens Says No Deal on Swift Boat Bounty.".
- ^ http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/nation/4171519.html
- ^ Pickens, Boone (2008). The First Billion is the Hardest. Crown. p. 189. ISBN 9780307395771.
- ^ Associated Press (July 17, 2008) "2 counties want natural gas fueling station" Baltimore Sun (wtop.com)
- ^ Rubenstein, A. (July 29, 2008) "T. Boone Pickens' 'clean' secret" Los Angeles Times
- ^ Press Release, May 21, 2008, Reuters.
- ^ a b c  The New York Times » Billionaire Gives a Big Gift but Still Gets to Invest It
- ^ Pickens, Boone (2008). The First Billion is the Hardest. Crown. pp. 181–82. ISBN 9780307395771.
- ^ Document: OSU Planned Eminent Domain Use - Oklahoma City News Story - KOCO Oklahoma City
- ^ 
- ^ 
- ^ The Daily O’Collegian » Boone Pickens announces $100M donation to OSU
- ^ Pickens, Boone (2008). The First Billion is the Hardest. Crown. p. 169. ISBN 9780307395771.
- ^ 
- ^ Dallas Business Journal. "Pickens gives $2.5M to residential school August 23, 2007.
- ^ Dallas Business Journal. "Leppert, Pickens announce major donation" December 5, 2007
- ^ Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. "Billionaire hands U of C unexpected $25M gift" June 20, 2008
- ^ Dallas Business Journal. "T. Boone Pickens donates to Dallas YMCA" October 21, 2008
- ^ Tulsa World. Pickens sees $100 oil, maybe in 2008" by Amy Strahan. September 20, 2007.
- ^ One Brief Shining $100 Bbl Moment.. So Far, January 2, 2008 OPIS report by Tom Kloza.
- ^ http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2008-11-12-oil-wednesday_N.htm
- ^ LubbockOnline.com - Pickens aims to build world's largest wind farm 06/14/07
- ^ Mesa Power's Plans for World's Largest Wind Farm Move Forward with ERCOT Filing
- ^ a b c d e The Oklahoman. "Boone Pickens shares his views on energy, politics, the Olympics, OSU's new president" by Jack Money. January 30, 2008.
- ^ UPDATE 2-Pickens' Mesa Power orders GE wind turbines | Reuters
- ^ Galbraith, Kate (2008-07-20). "Texas approves a $4.93 billion wind-power project", International Herold Tribune. "Transmission companies will pay the upfront costs of the project. They will recoup the money from power users, at a rate of about $4 a month for residential customers."
- ^ http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jul2008/2008-07-18-094.asp Retrieved 2008-09-14.
- ^ The Pickens Plan
- ^ Big Pickens: T. Boone the Oilman Ups the Ante in his Wind Bet, July 8, 2008, Wall Street Journal blog.
- ^ Commentary - Timothy Carney: Shocking! Windmill owner wants subsidies!, August 15, 2008, Newark Examiner.
- ^ Texas wind: Boone Pickens' big, big bet, May 15, 2008, Wall Street Journal blog.
- ^ Financial News Business Week.
- ^ Pickens Plan, July 11, 2008, Forbes.
- ^ T. Boone Pickens Plan: Wind Energy, July 8, 2008, USA Today.
- ^ "Billionaire T. Boone Pickens loses millions on Yahoo gamble". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved on 2008-07-29.
- ^ "Activism earns Pickens ‘Texan of the Year’ honor", San Antonio Business Journa (December 8, 2008). Retrieved on 11 December 2008.
 External links
- Biography of Boone Pickens (Horatio Alger Awards)
- BP Capital Managements most recent holdings
- Stop T Boone Pickens Website
|NAME||Pickens, T. Boone|
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Tyrone Boone Pickens, Jr. (full name)|
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||Financier; Chairman, BP Capital Management|
|DATE OF BIRTH||1928-05-22|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Holdenville, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|DATE OF DEATH|
|PLACE OF DEATH|