Steve Jobs will go down in history as one of the greatest CEOs and technological innovators of our generation, but how did he shape his legacy and what moves did he make to start Apple from the ground up? His ideas, forward thinking and technological breakthroughs changed the way we look at the world. However, Jobs did so much more than just iTunes, the iPod and the iPhone. He also had the vision to see potential in animation company Pixar.
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Steve Jobs as well as his two partners, Steve Wozniak and Mike Markkula, started with barely anything. In order to raise funds, Wozniak sold his prized calculator for US$250 and Steve Jobs sold his Volkswagen bus for $1,500. From there, more investors came on the scene. There were differences in opinion, and eventually Steve Jobs left to start his own company called NeXT Computers after being forced out of the company.
Although they wouldn't admit it, Apple quickly figured out that they needed Steve Jobs. In a interestingly timed acquisition, Apple purchased Jobs' company NeXT computers, bringing Jobs back to the company where he would later become CEO working for $1 per year in compensation.
How valuable was his initial $1,500 investment? When the stock went public on Dec. 12, 1980, Jobs owned 7.5 million shares. With an IPO price of $22 per share that means his $1,500 investment in 1976 would have been worth $217 million in 1980. Of course, the share price only went up from there. Since then Apple has done three two-for-one stock splits, essentially turning that $22 IPO price into a split adjusted price of $2.75. Doing a bit of math, we can assume Jobs would have had 78,909,091 shares of Apple. At a $400 share price today, Steve Jobs would have been worth about $31.6 billion before his death if he held all of his initial shares versus an estimated $2.2 billion in Apple stock (at $400 with 5.426 million shares of Apple). Of course, we all know that didn't happen. When Jobs was ousted out of Apple in 1985 he sold all but one share so he could still get the annual report. It was not until he came back in 1997 that he was rewarded additional shares in Apple. (For related reading, see Famous And Infamous CEO Transitions.)
In 1986, Jobs made what might have been the best financial investment of his legendary career. For $5 million, Jobs bought a small animation company run by George Lucas called Pixar. It was barely a company. Instead, it was a group of animators who were becoming interested in computer generated 3D animation instead of the traditional animation cells. Nine years later, their movie, "Toy Story," was released to critical acclaim. This proved to be the perfect time to make Pixar a publicly traded company. In the same year, Pixar issued an IPO on the public market. On its first day it priced at $22 per share (the same as the Apple IPO) making Jobs a billionaire for the first time.
Later, Pixar was sold to Disney in a deal worth $7.4 billion or $59.76 per share netting Jobs 138 million shares of Disney stock worth approximately $4.3 billion. Along with the sale of Pixar, Jobs gained a seat on the Disney board and increased his net worth to more than $5.1 billion at the time, making him the 43rd richest American before his death, according to Forbes Magazine.
The Bottom Line
Jobs held seats on both the Apple and Disney board, and had monumental creative influence on Apple products before his death. The largest part of his net worth came from the sale of Pixar to Disney, with a total net worth of about $6.5 billion to $7 billion before his death. If he had not sold any of his Apple shares back in 1985, he would have been worth an astonishing $36 billion. Then again, money was never the key motivator for Jobs.
"Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful … that's what matters to me," said Jobs in a 1993 interview with the Wall Street Journal.
(For related reading, see CEO Savvy And Stock's Success Go Hand In Hand.)