JANUARY Occidental Petroleum buys Midcon, an energy pipeline firm, for more than $3 billion. Union Carbide fights off GAF with a debt-heavy restructuring plan. Pennzoil and Texaco tussle in court over an $11-billion judgment against Texaco arising from its previous purchase of Getty Oil. BankAmerica suffers huge blows: a $4.75-million fine for failing to report large cash transactions, a $178-million fourth-quarter loss and elimination of its dividend. Former American Express President Sanford Weill and his "rescue" plan are spurned. FEBRUARY Wells Fargo agrees to buy Crocker National Bank for $1.08 billion. Japan extends auto export quotas in the face of growing protectionist sentiment in Congress. Coca-Cola agrees to buy Dr Pepper for $470 million--a month after Pepsico announces that it will buy Seven-Up for $380 million. Federal Trade Commission quashes both deals in the summer.
MARCH Airline merger mania takes off: Texas Air will buy Eastern Airlines for $600 million. TWA will buy Ozark for $225 million. Exxon and Chevron follow Atlantic Richfield in slashing their capital spending budgets in the face of tumbling oil prices. In the summer, Chevron says it will cut staff by 12%. Preston Martin says he'll quit in April as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. APRIL As oil prices continue to tumble, Vice President George Bush stirs up controversy by signaling that he'll tell Saudi Arabia of the need for action on propping up oil prices. Bush on his trip said he only discussed the need for price stability. The advertising business sees its biggest merger to date: Needham Harper, BBDO and Doyle Dane Bernbach all agree to combine. MAY Burroughs offers to buy Sperry, which gives in only when price is raised to $4.8 billion. Merger creates nation's second-largest computer company. Britain's Saatchi & Saatchi ad agency will acquire Ted Bates Worldwide for $450 million, creating world's largest agency. Wall Street is stunned by insider trading charges against prominent investment banker Dennis B. Levine for accumulating $12.6 million in illegal profits. Levine later pleads guilty. Lorimar agrees to pay $1.4 billion for six television stations from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and an additional $405 million for a station from Wometco. Deals fall through in the fall. Pacific Lighting gets into retailing, agreeing to pay $886 million for Thrifty, West's biggest drugstore chain. JUNE Ted Turner won't be a movie mogul: He sells most of MGM Entertainment for $300 million back to Kirk Kerkorian and United Artists, which sold MGM to Turner in 1985. Turner retains the film library. Another rescue plan is assembled for Mexico, which will get $6 billion in loans from the IMF and World Bank. Marriott pays $501 million for food-service operator Saga. Famous Gimbels stores in New York are closed. May Department Stores makes a $2.7-billion run at Associated Dry Goods, which owns J. W. Robinson and Lord & Taylor. Associated caves in within a month. JULY Lockheed will pay $1.2 billion for Sanders Associates, a military electronics business. Dart goes after Safeway, bidding $3.6 billion, but yields to buyout by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Knudsen Foods, West's largest dairy, can't pay milk suppliers and threatens to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In September, Hughes Markets and Kraft agree to buy most of its operations in California and Nevada. The Supreme Court strikes down automatic spending cuts mandated in the Gramm-Rudman budget-balancing law, leaving it up to Congress rather than the comptroller general to enforce the bill's provisions. LTV seeks protection from creditors in largest Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing ever. BankAmerica discloses a stunning $640-million loss for the second quarter. Director Charles Schwab bolts, seeks to buy back his discount brokerage. The Interstate Commerce Commission rejects proposed $2.6-billion merger of Santa Fe and Southern Pacific. Faced with charges of unfair trade practices, Japan agrees to raise the price of semiconductor chips.