1968 – VA fends off takeover attempts
From the very beginning, there were times when the directors were faced with difficult financial crises. Many were in the early years, and all of them were eventually resolved.
In the late 1960s, however, two very serious crises nearly ended Vail Associates.
In September 1968, James A. Krentler made a tender offer to buy Vail Associates – and nearly pulled it off. The documents required to ensure control were mishandled in Vail’s office. If it wasn’t for some last-minute scrambling on the part of some Vail directors and important investors who rallied their friends to hang onto their stock, Krentler might have been successful. Krentler did control enough shares, though, to put two of his supporters, John Amato and Jack Mankaymer, on the board of directors.
The other crisis occurred when Great Western Life of Minneapolis almost foreclosed on a major loan.
As “Moose” Taylor recalls:
“John Murchison called me one Friday evening and told me we had a problem and we had to get together. He set up a meeting at Jack Tweedy’s house for the following Sunday. Vail Associates had borrowed money from Great Western and there was a time frame to pay it back. They probably had some extensions, but I’m not sure of that. There was a final deadline, and they were supposed to call Peter (Seibert) well in advance, warning him about the deadline.
“The crisis developed because very little was done about it. At the meeting on Sunday, I learned the full details. Peter was there and I asked him how this could happen and no one knew about it. Peter had no good answer for this; he just rolled his eyes and shook his head.”
Again, John Murchison, Taylor, C. T. Chenery, Jack Tweedy and one other raised the necessary funds just in the nick of time. It wasn’t easy. It was before the instant transfers that we have today.