Not so Fast Buckaroo: T. Boone Loses Big With Yahoo

On Tuesday, I wrote a post on T. Boone Pickens, the oil colossus-gone-softy, who is currently waging a ubiquitous, multi-million-dollar ad campaign to convince Americans to stop guzzling gasoline like it’s Happy Hour at TGI Friday’s. Read my post here.

I couldn’t have been happier over T. Boone’s ascendancy; what could be better than an oil guru who takes up the cause of alternative energy? Publicly and privately, I was hoping that T. Boone would prove to be the perfect symbol of hope for American energy and transportation. Alas, my dreams took a heavy blow on Tuesday thanks to the San Francisco Chronicle’s crafty reporting.

On Tuesday, Mr. Pickens told the San Francisco Chronicle that he had recently sold his 10 million shares of Yahoo stock. He purchased his shares in early May when Yahoo stock was trading at $25, at a time when the company was a wee bit more salable than it is today. Since May, Yahoo’s stock has slipped to $20 a share—creating a bit of a problem for T. Boone’s wallet. Though the numbers are not yet public, Pickens probably lost close to $50 million.

From what I can gather, T. Boone bought the shares in the hopes that Yahoo would be swallowed by Microsoft. But now that Icahn has agreed to opt out of the proxy fight to make nice with the Yahoo clan, T. Boone has decided to sell off his shares—before things get any worse.

In his characteristic style, T. Boone refused to let Yahoo get away scot-free without firing some down-home invective at Yang & Co: "I think Yahoo management is pathetic." Thinking always of the children, we could not share the rest of his comments.

I don’t know who T. Boone’s financial advisor is, likely, the biggest problem is that T. Boone doesn’t have one. Other than the Texas Wind. Of course, T. Boone has an impressive record when it comes to cagey business-moves, but this Yahoo fiasco does not bode well for those of us hoping to see financial, emotional, and ecological returns on his alternative energy plan.

Since Tuesday, Mr. Pickens has been on the campaign circuit, promoting his Energy Plan to anyone who will listen. He told a crowd in Topeka, Kansas today that he hopes to "start a revolution." He is convinced that his plan will work, and that with the help of the average American, enough pressure can be put on Congress to catalyze a change in energy policy.

All things being equal, I still believe in T. Boone; it’s hard not to. That being said, while I am not completely undone by the tycoon’s over-zealous investment in Yahoo, I do grow wary of following him to any sort of Promised Land. Or the poker table. I pledge my support to his initiative, but I think we might be smart to wait before we go "all in" with our hard-earned dollars.

What do you think?

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