Current return on $10,000: $10.3 million
Yes, even stodgy blue chip Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) once was a fresh new face to the public markets.
Early on, Wal-Mart found out that growth isn’t cheap in the retail business, and in the late 1960s it almost went bust because of problems with its financing. At the time, new locations could run Wal-Mart about $500,000 — no small sum back then.
The company’s legendary founder, Sam Walton, thought an IPO would be the best solution. In 1970, he went to Wall Street and sold 300,000 shares at $16.50 each. At the time, the company was growing quickly — in just one year, from 1968 to 1969, revenues soared from $12.7 million to $21.3 million.
It took another couple decades, but by the end of the 1980s, the stock landed investors a 100-fold return. And thanks to new store concepts and a world-class logistics system and information technology network, Wal-Mart has become a thousand-fold phenomenon — making a $10,000 initial investment in WMT worth about $10.3 million today.
Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He also is the author of “The Complete M&A Handbook”, “All About Short Selling” and “All About Commodities.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli or reach him via email. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.