As of this writing, Apple (ticker symbol AAPL) is trading at $205 per share. The stock is up 7% in the last 48 hours thanks to a strong earnings release. At that price, the company's market cap is $988 billion. That's pretty cool. But you know what's cooler? If Apple's stock increases by another $2 per share, it's market cap will be $1 trillion.
By the way, we often report about "market cap" on Celebrity Net Worth, and occasionally people contact us with questions about what that means and how it is calculated. Market cap, or more formally, market capitalization, is calculated by multiplying a company's stock price by the total number of its outstanding shares. As an example, let's consider the (very real?) possibility that CNW becomes a public company. Let's also assume the public offering made 1 million shares available to public investors on an exchange such as the NYSE. If our current price per share is $100, CNW would have a market cap of $100 million. Make sense?
Apple has 4.82 billion shares outstanding. Multiply that number by $205 and you get their current market cap of $988 billion. If Apple's stock hit $207, a mere $2 increase from today, you'd multiply that number by 4.82 billion to get a market cap of $1 trillion.
You know who would be really really happy to see Apple become a $1 trillion company? Tim Cook. At the moment Apple hits $1 trillion, a clause in his contract kicks in that makes him a billionaire thanks to a performance option bonus deal.
***Update*** On August 2, 2018 at around 9am PST, Apple's market cap very briefly topped $1 trillion when the stock his $207.05. It sank right back down to $206.
Other $1 Trillion Companies:
Would Apple be the first $1 trillion company in history? No.
On November 5, 2007, a company called Petrochina IPO'd on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. When it first debuted, the company had a market cap of $350 billion. By the end of the first day of trading, the share price roughly tripled, giving Petrochina a market cap of $1 trillion. After adjusting for inflation, that's around $1.137 trillion today.
Side note: We've excluded state-owned companies in this article because their value is generally hard to determine, since most of them are controlled by a government. Furthermore, their values aren't really a level playing field compared to a typical private entity. The most notable example of a state-owned company is Saudi Aramco. As you might have guessed, Aramco is Saudi Arabia's state-owned petroleum and natural gas conglomerate. Saudi Aramco is privately controlled by one family: The House of Saud. AKA the Saudi Royal Family. The precise market value of Saudi Aramco is impossible to know, but most experts believe it to be in the range of $1-4 trillion. Likely on the lower end of that estimate after oil's decline in the last few years.
So does this mean that when Petrochina had a $1 trillion market cap it was the most valuable private company in history? Not by a long shot!
No matter how successful a company like Apple, Microsoft, or Petrochina is today, they are still a far cry from being the most valuable company in history. That title belongs to a little operation called The Dutch East India Company. It seems like a ridiculous number, but at one point, The Dutch East India Company was worth a mind-boggling $7.4 trillion. Widely recognized as the first multinational corporation, the Dutch East India Company's reach and power make today's major corporations look like small potatoes. The first corporation of its kind, the Dutch East India Company provided the framework for which all other conglomerates have been built upon ever since.
By 1669, the Dutch East India Company had 150 ships for trade, 40 warships, a private army of 10,000, and 50,000 employees. The company's success made its original investors unimaginably rich, as the company has boasted a dividend payment of 40%. At the peak of their power in the mid 1600s, accounting records show the company valued itself at 78 million Dutch Guilders. When adjusted in comparison to modern dollars after inflation, that's equal to $7.4 trillion.