Waging a war of words over a takeover battle that has yet to begin, Unocal Corp. Chairman Fred L. Hartley on Monday sharply criticized Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens, Security Pacific National Bank and others for participating in a "merger mania" that leaves behind "ruined lives, corporate cadavers and poorer prospects for reserve replacement and future economic development for the nation."
"I am deeply concerned about the growing wave of irresponsible and unethical behavior by some of our leading financial institutions," Hartley told a meeting of the Natural Gas Processors Assn. A Unocal spokesman said more than 1,000 people attended the industry group's meeting.
"Some banks and financiers are participating in deals that threaten the economic well-being of this country," Hartley said, according to a copy of his speech distributed by Unocal. "Under the guise of 'protecting the small shareholders,' corporate raiders and their bankers and brokers are engaging in stock and bond and credit schemes reminiscent of those of the 1920s--but on a multibillion-dollar scale."
Last week, Unocal sued Security Pacific, the Los Angeles-based oil company's banker for more than 40 years, alleging deceit, misrepresentation and breaches of contract and fiduciary duty for lending money to members of an investor group led by Pickens, chairman of Amarillo, Tex.-based Mesa Petroleum.