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Moguls and Mandarins by Marian Kent

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2

The Purchase of the British Government’s Shares in the British Petroleum Company 1912–1914

Coming at a time when state aid to industry had hardly begun in Britain, the British government’s purchase of a 51 per cent shareholding in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company – later to become the British Petroleum Company and one of the world’s more important oil companies – was a momentous decision. By this action the government obtained a financial interest in the Company and a controlling voice in its affairs. At the same time the government secured direct control over one of its sources of oil fuel for the Royal Navy. Finally, it acquired a material stake in a remote and foreign country whose strategic position was vital for the containment of those rival ...

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