Amerada Corporation (Hess)
Amerada Corporation (Hess)
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Nicely engraved antique stock certificate from the Amerada Corporation dating back to the 1920's. This document, which is signed by the company Vice President and Secretary, was printed by the American Bank Note Company and measures approximately 11" (w) by 7" (h).
This certificate's vignette features an allegorical female figure with a winged wheel and a globe.
Formed in 1919, the Amerada Corporation was a holding company for its principal subsidiary, the Amerada Petroleum Corporation. The oil producer experienced solid growth during most of the 1920s, hitting a peak in 1926 with a net income of $4.9 million. However, in the years leading to the Great Depression, weakness in the oil markets contributed to sluggish profits. The aftermath of the market crash aggravated the unsteady oil industry. In the first quarter of 1930, the company experienced a minor loss. The early years of the Depression was a struggle against wavering demand and overproduction in some regions. Later into the 1930s, the financial forecast became more sanguine for Amerada.
In December 1941, the company reorganized by merging the holding company with the principal operating subsidiary, Amerada Petroleum Corporation, into a simplified operating company. The new entity also adopted the former subsidiary's name.
Robust postwar growth rocketed the company past $100 million in sales in 1955.
Hess Oil and Chemical, an oil refiner and marketer founded by Leon Hess (who later owned the New York Jets), in 1966 acquired 10% of the company for $100 million after the British government sold its stake, which was amassed during World War II. Hess and Amerada would announce plans for a merger in December 1968. Some Amerada stockholders led by Morton Adler criticized the arrangement as being too favorable for Hess. Adler argued Amerada's oil reserves would contribute the lion's share of assets for the proposed company, so Amerada stockholders should retain more control of the new company. Before the stockholder vote on the matter, Phillips Petroleum, an integrated oil firm, approached Amerada with its own merger proposal, but the offer was declined in March. Still interested, Phillips nonetheless stated it would not carry out a proxy fight against the proposed Hess deal. Hess fearing such a strategy, made a cash tender offer of $140 million for an additional 1.1 million shares of Amerada, which would double its holding in the company. The new shares would be employed in a May stockholder vote deciding the merger's fate. The vote took place amidst shareholder rancor that in addition to echoing Adler's arguments, objected to Amerada's financing of the recently completed tender offer. Hess planned to cancel the shares and the cost of the acquisition would be absorbed by the newly formed company. One shareholder at the meeting quipped, "It looks to me as if Hess is buying Amerada with Amerada's money." Proponents of the deal won, and the $2.4 billion merger combining a purely production company with a refinery and marketer operation was completed. Although, controversy was not yet extinguished by the stockholder confirmation. A class action federal lawsuit in 1972 claiming the proxy vote information was misleading. In 1976, a court agreed that the company falsely claimed to have considered each company's assets as a reason for the merger.
In 2001, Amerada Hess purchased Triton Energy Limited in a cash tender deal valued at approximately $3.2 billion. Triton, one of the largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in the U.S., had earned a reputation as a maverick oil company due to its highly successful yet potentially risky overseas exploration.
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