Matt Moore found the Mike Milken page which is at www.mikemilken.com. He glosses over his role as a junk bond manipulator. This was a unique time in corporate history when raiders could get the money they neede without going to a bank or insurance company. Here is the condensed story for example of what happened to Gulf Oil courtesy of wikipedia.
By 1980, Gulf exhibited many of the characteristics of a giant corporation that had lost its way. It had a huge but poorly performing asset portfolio, associated with a depressed share price. The stock market value of Gulf started to drop below the break-up value of its assets. Such a situation was bound to attract the interest of corporate raiders.
Its undoing as an independent company began in 1982 when T. Boone Pickens  , an Amarillo, Texas oilman and corporate raider (or greenmailer), and owner of Mesa Petroleum made an offer for the much larger Cities Service Company from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Gulf offered to be a white knight and take over Cities Service (more generally known by the name Citgo) to keep them out of the clutches of Mesa. Gulf terminated the Cities Service acquisition over a dispute regarding accuracy of Cities Service's reserves and Cities Service was ultimately sold to Occidental Petroleum, and the retail operations were resold to Southland Corporation, the operators of 7-Eleven stores. Gulf's termination of the Cities Service acquisition resulted in more than 15 years of shareholder litigation against Gulf (and later Chevron).
Mesa and a group of associated investors then turned on Gulf. They quickly acquired 11% of the company's stock and engaged in a proxy war to get control of its board. Pickens made loud criticisms of the existing Gulf management and offered an alternative business plan intended to release shareholder value through a drastic slimming down of the Gulf operation. Pickens had acquired the reputation of being a corporate raider whose skill lay in making profits out of bidding for companies but without actually acquiring them. During the early 1980s alone, he made failed bids for Cities Services, General American Oil, Gulf, Phillips Petroleum and Unocal. The process of making such bids would promote a frenzy of asset divestment and debt reduction in the target companies. This is a standard defensive tactic calculated to boost the current share price—but possibly at the expense of long term strategic advantage. The target shares would rise sharply in price, at which point Pickens would dispose of his interest at a substantial profit.
Gulf management and directors took the view that the Mesa bid represented an undervaluation of the Gulf business as a going concern and that it was not in the interest of Gulf shareholders. Gulf therefore sought to resist Pickens by various means, finally turning to Chevron to act as their white knight in 1984. Gulf divested many of its worldwide operating subsidiaries then merged with Chevron. The Mesa group of investors were reported to have made a $760m profit when they assigned their Gulf shares to Chevron.
The forced merger of Gulf and Chevron was a controversy that was widely discussed and was referred to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC only approved the deal subject to strict conditions. Never before had a "small operator" successfully taken apart a Fortune 500 company. The $13bn merger with Chevron would become the largest corporate merger in world history up to that time and at 2006 it still remains the second largest. Chevron, to settle with the government antitrust requirements, sold some Gulf stations, a refinery in the eastern United States and some international operations variously to British Petroleum (BP) and Cumberland Farms in 1985.
Now, as Paul Harvey says, the rest of the story. When Pickens et al attempted to take over a company, the comapny immediately went into freeze mode or like Gulf turned to a White Knight. The White Knight was only white insofar as the execs made a lot of money on the buy out of their stock or hastily awareded stock options. For example, when Pickens group announced Phillips as a target, plans for shopping malls in Phillips home town of Bartels ville was canceled.
I happend to be witness to the situation at Gulf. The largest domestic oil field Gulf had was in Goldsmith TX between Odessa and Andrews, TX. Our small family owned company furnished maintenance services for that producing field. This made a living or business for hundreds of Gulf employees and contractors and their employees. Gulf stock had been trading at $30 a share forever. AS the article says, Gulf thought the bid by Pickens undervalued the company but they the directors certainly never got the stock over 40 bucks. Terrified that Pickens would fire all of them, they turned to Chevron. Chevron made the high bid of $80. Pickens et al made a fortune. I should have bought a jillion Gulf call options but did not. The result of course was that Chevron did what they have done with each purchse of Texaco, Gulf, and Unocal, they fired or transferred or retired all the Gulf employees. They fired or made the contractors bid for the work. The only ones that stayed bid at or below cost putting many out of business in a year or so. This of course helped Chevron recover their cost more quickly. We were out of business in short order. This is when operating a debt free business with plenty of cash in the bank pays off. Our employees of course were hard pressed to find similar work for similar pay. A huge recession ensued in the Permian Basin as oil prices plunged to $12. Thousands left the area never to return. I finally did that when oil went back to $12 in 1998.
Milken was able to raise money for just about anything for a while based on the takeover possibliities of a corporation. He and a few cronies like Pickens made a lot of money but tens of thousands of folks lost their jobs. I will grant that as the article says, when the stock dropped below break up value, someone would have taken Gulf over anyway, but it did not have to end so violently for all the innocent people who were guilty of doing nothing more than working hard and honestly every day, rather like the Arthur Andersen fiasco.