If you have made a few mistakes in investing or trading, you are not alone.
Look at how much money was lost when the Japan’s stock market crashed after one of the workers made a typo? The world is full of mistakes. In the financial world it can be very costly sometimes.
Japan’s Stock Market Error – $236 Mil
What happens when you type in a 1 where 610,000 should be? Well, you lose 236 million dollars, because you just sold 610,000 shares for 1 yen. Can you imagine what hell that worker has been through?
New Coke Cost: $34 million
One of the most notorious product flops in history, New Coke was an ill-fated attempt on the part of Coca-Cola to compete with Pepsi’s growing popularity. In 1985, New Coke was released. It was a sweeter-tasting soda that Coke hoped would make Pepsi’s sales go flat.
However, New Coke turned out to be an enormous and costly mistake. Nobody liked it and Coke fans were so upset that the original flavor had to be brought back. Coke had spent $4 million to develop the new flavor and was left with $30 million in unsold New Coke, for a grand total of $34 million lost.
Apple founder sells shares Cost: $35 million
Most of us know Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak as the founders of Apple, but back in the 70’s when it all began there was a third founder. Ron Wayne actually drew the first Apple logo and wrote the Apple I manual. However, tensions between Wayne and Jobs led to him selling his stock.
Wayne had a 10% share in Apple, which he sold in 1978 for a mere $800. Had he held on to those shares, they would be worth at least $35 million today. Luckily, Wayne has made peace with his choice. He told The Daily Mail, “I made a decision that allowed me to pursue my interest. I honestly don’t regret walking away at all.” :) Sure. Chump.
Trains too wide for the rail Cost: $68.4 million
In 2014, French train operator SNCF ordered 2,000 new trains for their lines in Paris and throughout France. Unfortunately, the trains were too wide to fit into the platforms at some of the older stations in France. The mistake arose because SNCF officials had measured stations built 30 years ago but failed to account for stations that had been built 50 or more years prior when trains were much thinner.
To correct the error, construction was needed to widen the platforms at over 1,000 train stations in France. All told, fixing the mistake cost $68.4 million.
Russia sold Alaska Cost: $700 million
In 1867, Alaska was a Russian territory that was rapidly bleeding money. Russian merchants and bureaucrats had found some early financial successes there, but demand for higher salaries among officials was making Alaska more costly than it was worth despite newly discovered gold mines. So, Russia made a deal with the U.S. to sell the chilly territory for just $7.2 million. Over time, Alaska would turn out to be more valuable than Russia ever could have imagined. Thanks to Alaska’s rich gold and oil industries, America has made back over $700 million on the deal. That’s more than one hundred times what we paid for the 49th state.
Quaker buys Snapple Cost: $1.4 billion
Quaker’s acquisition of Snapple will go down in history as one of the worst corporate mergers of all time. In 1994, Quaker spooned out $1.7 billion from their oatmeal empire to buy the iced-tea company. Commentators at the time criticized the price they paid, claiming they had seriously overvalued the company. Though Snapple was quite popular, more established beverage companies quickly pumped out competing beverages. Snapple struggled to gain their footing and live up to Quaker’s hopes. Soon after, Quaker sold the beverage company in 1997 for just $3 million, taking a $1.4 billion loss on the whole deal.
Sony buys Columbia Pictures Cost: $3.2 billion
In 1989, Sony made a costly mistake in acquiring Columbia Pictures. Sony spent $4.8 billion to buy out the film studio, but a few years later they would grow to regret the purchase. Due to a series of box office flops, Sony announced in 1994 that they had no hope of making back their investment in Columbia. By that time, they had lost $3.2 billion in the deal.
Mercedes-Benz buys Chrysler Cost: $20 billion
Mercedez-Benz parent company Daimler Benz merged with Chrysler in 1998, intent on transforming the two companies into one international automobile powerhouse known as Daimler Chrysler. With one branch in the U.S. and the other in Europe, the company hoped to dominate the car market on both continents. Daimler Benz paid $37 billion for Chrysler, but unfortunately, the deal didn’t stand the test of time. Due to culture clashes and differences in quality, the two companies struggled to see eye to eye. Then, in the 2000s, a recession drove Chrysler sales into the gutter. Daimler Benz ultimately sold Chrysler in 2007 for $7 billion to Cerberus Capital Management firm, a company whose specialty is restructuring failing corporations.
AOL buys Time Warner Cost: $146 billion
In the year 2000, the Dot Com bubble was at its height. AOL was regarded as the hottest tech company in the world, and the Time Warner deal was hyped to the max. AOL paid $182 billion to buy Time Warner, adding Time Warner cable packages to their then-popular home Internet offerings. Just a few months later, the Dot Com bubble burst, causing AOL’s value to decline rapidly. In 2009, Time Warner struck out on their own with a valuation of $36 billion. Newly single, AOL’s value had dropped to just $2.5 billion. In 2000, AOL thought their reign as the leading home Internet service would never end, yet just a few short years proved them very, very wrong.
Alitalia Airline Cost $7 million
Air travel is expensive for customers looking to book a getaway, but it was in 2006 when the airline Alitalia found itself stuck with the bill when a typo on their website allowed for $39 flights from Toronto to Cyprus (it was supposed to read $3,900), definitely one of the most expensive typos in the world. Two-thousand tickets sold before Alitalia could correct the price online. Instead of fighting customers on their mistake, they chose to honor the cheap tickets to the tune of $7 million.
Yahoo! sells to Alibaba Cost circa $4 billion
This story is now legendary in the tech and finance industries. In 2005, Yahoo! owned 30 percent of Alibaba, a profitable Chinese multinational e-commerce, technology, and retail behemoth. Seven years later, they decided to sell half their stake to Alibaba at $13 a share. At the time it seemed like a good deal… Yahoo! made $7.6 billion
Fast-forward to 2014. Alibaba goes public and breaks records when their stocks rose to $68 a share. Ouch. Today shares in Alibaba are worth $150 (the company is valued at around $84 billion) and Yahoo! sold its internet business to Verizon in 2017 for $4.8 billion.
Blockbuster ( remember them) could have bought Netflix in 2000 Cost Circa $15 billion
Before video streaming services became all the rage, you used to have to go to these places called video stores where you’d rent movies. If you kept it past the due date, you’d have to pay a late fee. Blockbuster was the biggest of these video store chains. Netflix was a successful newcomer with an interesting business model.
So if you made a few mistakes in the past, hopefully they were not as expensive as some of the above.