Steve Jobs Net Worth: At some point this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook will become a billionaire for the first time. Becoming a billionaire is a remarkable achievement for anyone, but it’s a particularly impressive achievement for someone who started out as a grassroots employee without any pre-IPO or significant action, really. The only other people I can think of who have achieved billionaire status by starting out as employees in the same way are Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, and Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan.
The vast majority of people who become billionaires (through something other than inheritance) are business founders. It’s logic. A founder usually owns a significant portion of his business. They achieve billionaire status either through a public offering (IPO), private valuation, or liquidation (sale) event.
Speaking of founders, we can’t talk about Apple without thinking of the company’s co-founder Steve Jobs. And with Apple on the verge of surpassing a market cap of $ 2 TRILLION, how rich would Steve Jobs be today if he was still alive? Let’s talk …
Steve Jobs died on October 5, 2011 at the age of 56. If he were alive today, he would be 65.
At the time of his death, Steve Jobs’ net worth was $ 10.2 billion.
BUT here’s the fun little fact about Steve Job’s net worth: At the time of his death, Apple was only a relatively small fraction of his net worth. His real fortune comes from DISNEY.
Of that net worth of $ 10.2 billion, only $ 2 billion came from his stake in Apple. The remaining $ 8.2 billion came from the roughly 138 million Disney shares Steve received from the Pixar sale in 2006.
Why was Apple so “for”?
Unfortunately for Steve (and his heirs), the founder of Apple sold all but one of Apple’s shares in 1985.
After a brutal war on the board of directors, Steve left Apple in 1985. He was not fired as is often reported. He leaves. When he resigned Jobs was 30 years old and he owned 20% of Apple. A few days after quitting smoking, he angrily sold himself 99.99999% of its Apple shares all at once. To be precise, he sold everything but A share. He only kept this last part in order to be able to continue receiving the company’s annual report. In total, the sale earned him $ 100 million after tax (roughly $ 230 million in today’s dollars).
Steve was drawn to Apple in the mid-1990s as the company turned its back on bankruptcy after a decade of products and bad investments. Apple brought Steve jobs as a consultant in 1997 when it acquired his computer company NeXT for $ 427 million. This acquisition was just a roundabout way to bring Steve back to the Apple campus.
In September 1997, Apple’s board asked Steve to become CEO again. Steve was open to the idea but he wanted one thing: EQUITY.
After lengthy negotiations, Apple’s board of directors agreed to give Steve 5.5 million new Apple shares which at the time were worth around $ 300 million.
As we all know, Apple’s price per share HAS EXPLODED under the new apple led by Steve-Jobs. Under Jobs, the company introduced the iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad.
At the height of his reign, Apple’s market capitalization reached $ 350 billion.
Net worth today
As we mentioned earlier, Apple is now approaching a $ 2 billion market capitalization. The company completed a 7-1 stock split in 2014, turning Steve’s 5.5 million shares into 38.5 million shares.
At the current price per share of $ 450, those 38.5 million shares are worth $ 17.325 billion. Plus, each quarter when Apple issues its dividend of $ 0.87 per share, those 38.5 million shares would generate a dividend of $ 31.6 million. All quarters. This is $ 126.3 million per year in dividends.
So Steve would be worth $ 17 billion today! Quite impressive! Much better than $ 10.2 billion … oh wait. We haven’t talked about Disney yet.
Disney has ALSO performed very well over the past nine years.
As of this writing, Steve’s widow Laurene Powell (who has inherited her entire estate) owns 4% of Disney. Disney has a current market capitalization of $ 232 billion. Laurene’s stake in Disney is therefore worth $ 6.8 billion. But that’s only half the story, because in 2016, it sold 50% of its shares for $ 6.2 billion.
Disney makes semi-annual dividends. In 2019, those 138 million shares would have produced $ 121 million TWICE. So $ 242 million in dividends alone!
Add all that up and if Steve Jobs were alive today and kept every stake in Apple and Disney, his net worth would be 35 billion dollars. Every year, he earned $ 368 million a year from dividend payments.
Now let’s assume for a moment that Steve never sold any of his original 20% stake in Apple. And to be fair, let’s assume he never left the company to run Pixar and sell it for billions. If it were just to maintain that 20% stake as the company hit a market cap of $ 2 trillion, today it would be worth much more. 200 billion dollars. He is said to own around 1 billion shares of the company. These stocks would pay a QUARTERLY dividend of $ 870 million! That’s $ 3.5 billion a year in dividends!