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The most valuable company ever?

Apple recently achieved a market capitalisation of over $620 billion, and has been touted as the biggest company ever. That's impressive, but is it really the biggest company ever?

What about, say, the South Sea Company?

At its peak in 1720 its shares were trading for £1050 each. So how much was it worth?

Time to do a little calculation!

As far as I can find out, around 3.5 million shares were released, which gives it a peak value of £3.675 billion. But that's in 1720 pounds. There's been a lot of economic movement since then, so what could that be in 2012 pounds?

I found a useful web site, Measuring Worth, that contains the tools for calculating the relative worth of various currencies at various dates.

Using its tools it turns out that the South Sea Company would have been worth at the low end £429 billion in 2012 pounds, but at the high end £49.3 trillion.

Which at a £/$ exchange rate of around 1.5, gives us a top end value of $73.8 trillion.

I think the UK can claim that record then.

It's just a pity about happened next.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 22nd, 2012 11:00 am (UTC)
Interesting Links for 22-08-2012
User andrewducker referenced to your post from Interesting Links for 22-08-2012 saying: [...] ) What is the most valuable company of all time? [...]
Aug. 22nd, 2012 11:20 am (UTC)
http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/RP12-31 provides yet another calculation which makes the value about £730 billion or $1.1 trillion. A bit more than Microsoft at its peak: http://www.forbes.com/sites/benzingainsights/2012/08/21/apple-now-most-valuable-company-in-history/

Aug. 22nd, 2012 11:38 am (UTC)
Interesting, but not quite far enough back, as the data only goes to 1750. 30 years does make quite a difference. But not 70x. :-)
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 3rd, 2012 08:32 am (UTC)
Exactly my point!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )