If Bill Gates kept all of his shares after the first day of the Microsoft IPO he would now be a trillionaire. This would even allow for several billion in charitable donations. Bill Gates had 49% of Microsoft going into the IPO of Microsoft and had 45% after the first day of the IPO.
Microsoft is now a $2.27 trillion company. 45% of that is $1.02 trillion. Microsoft starting paying out dividends in about 2003. The dividends were about 0.08 to 0.62 per share per quarter. In 2004 there was a larger $3 special dividend. The dividends would have added about $50 billion or so.
In 1999, Micosoft passed $500 billion in value and Bill Gates still had 20% of the company. If he had kept the shares from 1999 then he would have over $500 billion.
Bill Gates now only has about 1.3% of Microsoft. He sold most of his Microsoft shares and bought a diversified portfolio. Half of Bill Gates $24 billion publicly known holdings are Berkshire Hathaway shares. Gates is now worth $130 billion.
In 1999, Bill Gates had almost triple the wealth of Warren Buffet who was second richest in that year. Bill Gates surpassed $100 billion for part of 1999 while Buffet was worth about $36 billion in 1999.
These legendary winning companies show that maintaining share position is great for winning companies. Companies can issue more shares which can make it difficult for owners to maintain their relative position in the company. Many companies peak and then decline badly. This happened to Nokia. Even companies that were once top ten in the world can go bankrupt. Microsoft shares were stagnant from 2000 to 2014 when Steve Ballmer was CEO. Steve Ballmer still has 4% of Microsoft (333 million shares). Ballmer has a net worth of $108 billion. If Microsoft’s share value increases by over 30%, then Ballmer will surpass the wealth of Bill Gates.
Elon Musk had 28% of Tesla after Tesla’s IPO. Elon currently has about 22.4% of Tesla and is worth $230 billion. Elon was down to about 20% of Tesla but he has gotten about 2% from his CEO option compensation plan. Elon has about 54% of SpaceX. SpaceX is recently valued at $100 billion which is up about 33% from the beginning of 2021. If Tesla reaches $3 trillion in 2025 and SpaceX reaches $600 billion then Elon would be worth about $1 trillion. Tesla is currently valued at $835 billion.
If Elon had been able to hold all shares of Tesla from the IPO then he would now have about 30% more Tesla. Elon had to sell for tax payments and there were more shares of Tesla that were issued.
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg had 28% of Facebook after the IPO of Facebook. He now has 14% of Facebook. Zuckerberg is worth $122 billion.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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