Netflix Inc. (NFLX) is a video streaming giant that provides more than 167 million users with syndicated as well as original TV shows and movies. Since its humble beginnings as a mail-order movie and TV show delivery service in 1997, the company has come a long way, effectively killing its biggest competitor, Blockbuster Entertainment.  Netflix went public on May 23, 2002, and an investment of $990 on Netflix's initial public offering, or IPO, would have grown to over $340,956 after stock splits. That's a gain of 34,340% over almost 18 years. 

Key Takeaways

  • Netflix went public on May 23, 2002, with an initial public offering (IPO) price of $15 per share.
  • Netflix was the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 from 2010 through 2019.
  • Had you purchased $990 worth of Netflix stock at its original IPO price in 2002 and held onto the stock through two stock splits, you would have 924 shares of stock valued at $340,956 (as of Feb. 4, 2020).
  • Your return on investment would have been an astonishing 34,340% over almost 18 years.

Early Investment in Netflix

If you invested $990 right after Netflix's IPO, assuming you purchased each share of Netflix at its IPO price of $15, you would have 66 shares. Netflix did not continue higher; instead, it traded in a downtrend until early October 2002, where it hit a low of $4.85. But things turned around for the company and the early investors. 

2004 Two-For-One Netflix Stock Split

On Feb. 11, 2004, Netflix closed at $71.96 per share. On Feb. 12, 2004, Netflix issued a two-for-one stock split, so those 66 shares would double to become 132 shares. On Feb. 12, 2004, Netflix closed at $37.30 per share. The investment of $990 would have been worth $4,923.60, a return on investment, ROI, of 397%.

Thereafter, Netflix had its ups and downs but overall the stock kept climbing, crossing one price milestone after another.

Source: FactSet

In a stock split, the number of shares outstanding increases by a specific ratio—such as 2-for-1 or 3-for-1—but the total dollar value of the shares remains the same compared to pre-split amounts because the split does not add any real value.

2015 Seven-For-One Netflix Stock Split

Nearly 11 years later, Netflix reported its quarterly earnings and shares made a new all-time high.  The company announced another stock split, this time a seven-for-one stock split on July 15, 2015. On July 15, 2015, your 132 shares would have become 924 shares. On the date of the stock split, Netflix closed at $98.13 per share. The total position was worth $90,672.12 at the close, a 9,058% increase over the initial investment amount.

Present-Day Value From a Netflix IPO Investment

Almost 18 years after it made its stock market debut, Netflix is a part of the elite FANG stocks. As of Feb. 4, 2020, the stock traded around $369 a share, making the initial $990 investment worth $340,956 using the calculation of 924 shares multiplied by $369 per share. That's a stunning return on investment of 34,340%.