By the mid-1980s, corporate raiders like Carl Icahn, Ron Perelman and T. Boone Pickens had invaded Wall Street—fueled by junk bonds issued through Drexel Burnham Lambert’s Michael Milken. Forbes was first to shine a light on Milken’s money machine and the cast of “buccaneers” it bankrolled:

“Are there common threads among special Drexel customers? Only that all are aggressive, are outsiders to the convention­al financial community, have a trading mentality and can make quick multimilli­on-dollar investment­s without going through a corporate bureaucrac­y. A convention­al observer would say they tend to be buccaneers, much more interested in money than in running businesses. An admirer would call them financial entreprene­urs, redeployer­s of capital.”

—November 19, 1984

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