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This Day In Market History: Pennzoil Wins Record Settlement From Texaco

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This Day In Market History: Pennzoil Wins Record Settlement From Texaco
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Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened

On Nov. 19, 1985, Pennzoil won the largest civil suit at the time with a $10.53 billion settlement against Texaco.

Where The Market Was

The S&P 500 closed down at $198.67, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session down at $1,438.99.

What Else Was Going On In The World

President Ronald Reagan met with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev for their first in a series of diplomatic summits. The next day, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) would debut its original Windows 1.0 system.

Pennzoil Wins Biggest U.S. Civil Suit

In the largest civil settlement at the time, Texaco was ordered to pay Pennzoil $10.53 billion in damages, plus interest, for deliberate interference in the binding merger agreement between Pennzoil and Getty Oil. Texaco had acquired Getty for $10.1 billion the year before in what was then the nation’s second-largest merger in history. The resulting trial included four months of testimony.

The ultimately $11.1 billion payment sent Texaco — the third-biggest oil company in the U.S. — into bankruptcy. After nearly a year in that state, and having paid Pennzoil $3 billion, Texaco was subsumed by Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX).

Previously, MCI held the settlement record with $1.8 billion awarded in a 1980 antitrust suit against AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). That judgment was subsequently repealed by an appeals court, though.

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