Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hunt Trustees Agree to Sell Last Interests in Placid Oil

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hunt Trustees Agree to Sell Last Interests in Placid Oil

Article excerpt

DALLAS _ To William Herbert Hunt, son of legendary wildcatter H.L. Hunt, the sale of Placid Oil Co. is "just a part of ongoing business."

The proposed sale of one of the largest remaining vestiges of the Hunt oil empire by heirs to one of the world's great fortunes, however, marks another milestone in the passing of Texas' once wide-open oil boom.

Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. said Tuesday it has agreed to pay $250 million in stock for the company, with the deal expected to be complete by year-end.

Placid was the flagship company of the $4 billion empire H.L. Hunt left when he died in 1974 as one of the country's richest men.

The Dallas-based company once was one of the biggest independent oil companies in the world, with a peak worth estimated at $6 billion.

However, that value dwindled after oil prices collapsed and two Hunt sons lost an estimated $1.3 billion in an unsuccessful attempt to corner the global silver market.

"So many companies have come and gone but not any with a more spectacular record than Placid," Dallas oilman Frank Pitts said. "It brings a sadness to someone like me."

Placid is privately held by the trust estates of three of Hunt's children: Nelson Bunker, William Herbert and Lamar Hunt. The three trusts, which are equal shareholders, provide income for the brothers but are controlled by trustees. It was those trustees who unanimously decided to sell the company.

William Herbert Hunt, who also is now an adviser to his children's company, Petro-Hunt Corp., said Wednesday he does not see the sale as the end of an era, nor does it make him sad. "The bottom line is it frees up funds for us," he said.

"It's a significant asset sale and monetization of those assets. It is significant for us," he said.

The Hunt fortune was the most spectacular of many fueled by the famed but fading East Texas Field, discovered in 1930.

Placid was formed in 1935 and owned by trusts for the senior Hunt's children from his first marriage to Lyda Bunker. …

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