Q: Oil prices have been spiraling downward from their nosebleed highs. Do you think they’re going to go back up?
A: No question. There are only 85 million barrels per day of production in the world. I don’t think you can improve production. The question is, can you kill demand? You kill demand with price. That was what you saw when oil went to $150. Then demand dropped and so did the price. Now, with the price down, demand will go back up. When demand goes up, so will the price.
Q: Back in the 1970s, when you were heavily involved in hostile takeovers, the media referred to you as a “corporate raider.” Did that irk you?
A: It did. I took large positions in companies with the intention of running them myself. I thought I could do better than the management that was in place. They tried to describe me as an “asset-stripper.” But who in the hell is going to buy something and try to destroy the assets? Now things are viewed differently.
Q: How so?
A: These days they have another name for people who do what I did. Carl Icahn and I laugh about it. He says that if I had hung around longer as a raider, I’d be known as an “activist stockholder.” That’s a better title.