From his early days at Apple, Jobs had been rich. He had a net worth of more than a million dollars by 1978, when he was 23 years old. That net worth had grown to $10 million by the next year and more than $250 million by the age of 25, according to many estimates.
His early fortune, based on the success of Apple personal computers, especially the Apple II, made him one of the youngest people ever on Forbes’ list of the richest people in the United States. What’s more, he was part of a very tiny group of people under 30 to make the list with no inherited money.
What’s even more impressive is that Jobs easily could have been far wealthier, just based on his ownership positions in Apple over the years. Jobs' held a 26% stake in Apple when the company completed its initial rounds of fundraising in 1977. That stake would be worth a staggering $162 billion today, more than the net worth of the two richest men in the world, Bill Gates and Carlos Slim, combined.
But Jobs sold a few shares along the way. By 1985, he owned an 11% stake in Apple, which would now be worth $69 billion. But in a fit of pique, Jobs sold most of his Apple shares when he was ousted from the company in 1985, for roughly $130 million. He did retain a single share, so that he could receive the company’s annual report in the mail. (For more, see: Steve Jobs And The Apple Story.)
When Jobs sold his NeXT Software company to Apple in 1997, he received 1.5 million Apple shares in return. But he ceremoniously sold all of them off to protest the appointment of Gil Amelio as CEO just a few months later. Over the course of Jobs’ run as interim CEO and then as CEO, the company’s stock price would increase more than a thousand-fold.
When he died, Jobs’ stake in the company he helped found and later returned to lead to dominance was worth about $2.1 billion, in the form of 5.5 million shares. The year of his death, Apple surpassed Exxon Mobil as the largest company in the U.S., with a market capitalization of roughly $355 billion, versus just $3 billion in 1997, at the outset of Jobs’ second reign.
Interestingly, more of Jobs’ the $10 billion net worth at the time of his death came from the Walt Disney Company than from Apple. In 1986, Jobs bought Lucasfilm's computer graphics division for $10 million, renaming it Pixar. After the studio released a string of iconic children’s movies, such as Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and WALL-E, Disney acquired it for $7.4 billion in stock in 2006. The deal netted Jobs $4.3 billion in Disney stock and made him the company’s biggest single shareholder.
When Jobs died, his Disney shares were transferred to the Steven P. Jobs Trust, overseen by his widow, activist Laurene Powell Jobs. The trust has since grown to roughly $19 billion.
In addition to a yacht and a jet, Jobs owned a British country-style mansion in a quiet section of Palo Alto, California. He purchased it after marrying Powell in the mid-1990s. It was there that he died in 2011, with his family in attendance.
He also owned a sprawling 14,540-square-foot Spanish Colonial Revival mansion in Silicon Valley, which he purchased in 1984. After fighting local preservation groups for years for the right to rip the historic structure down, he finally began the process of demolishing the house shortly before his death.
The mansion, formerly known as the “Jackling House,” is now destroyed, though it remains to be seen whether Jobs’ widow will proceed with her dead husband’s plan for a new house, or simply sell the land.Steve Jobs: Famous or Infamous
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