The Big 'What If': Amazon Went Public 20 Years Ago


Twenty years ago, on May 15, 1997, a Seattle-based online bookstore held its initial public offering. The company, one of many online businesses to go public during the first dot-com boom, generated $148 million in sales that year and posted a net loss of $30 million. It was valued at $438 million.

Fast forward 20 years and that same company, named by the way, is the fourth largest public company in the United States. Its annual revenue will likely exceed $150 billion this year and whoever saw this coming is now a rich man or woman.

Anyone smart enough to invest $1,000 in Amazon’s IPO back in 1997 and hold on to the shares through the dot-com crash and the subprime mortgage crisis is now sitting on $640,000. After three stock splits in the late 1990s, one share bought in the IPO for $18 has turned into 12 shares worth around $960 each.

Infographic: The Big 'What If': Amazon Went Public 20 Years Ago | Statista
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