No. 3: Richard Kinder

Out of the ashes of Enron came Rich Kinder, a.k.a. Houston’s Mr. Big. When he stepped down as president of the so-called world’s greatest company in 1996 to found a simple pipeline business with his friend William Morgan, only a few understood the colossus to come: a corporation now worth $110 billion, the biggest midstream company of its kind and the third-largest energy company in North America. What brilliance accounts for his success?

No. 2: Michael Dell

The oldest son of an orthodontist father and a stockbroker mother in Houston, Michael Dell applied to take his high school equivalency exam in the third grade. (His parents insisted he stay in the classroom.) In high school, he sold newspaper subscriptions, checking marriage licenses and mortgage applications to target potential customers; when his smart salesmanship earned him more in commissions than his economics teacher’s salary, he used the proceeds to buy an Apple II and took it apart to see how it worked.

Telling Fortunes

In the past five years of recession and slow recovery, Texas has earned a reputation for being a pocket of prosperity. But who is putting that prosperity in his pocket? To find out, we partnered with Forbes Magazine, which published its annual Forbes 400 list earlier this week (see below for an explanation of the Forbes methodology).

Michael Dell's Victory

After seven months of wrangling and a shareholder vote that was rescheduled three times, Michael Dell has finally prevailed in his $24.9 billion bid to take his namesake company private. Shareholders overwhelmingly approved a buyout proposal by Dell and the private equity firm Silver Lake Partners.

Dell and Back

Update #2: On August 2, 2013, a special committee announced that Michael Dell and his partner, the investor firm Silver Lake, amended their buyout agreement in a move that some anticipate will please shareholders enough to ensure Dell can take his computer company private. The fight continues, but not without some savvy business thrusts and parries. 

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