Dime a Dozen: The Catalogue of Cheap Companies
What’s your company worth? In real, cold hard cash, do you know? It’s pretty likely very few businesses employees or even management will ever know that until they come to sell because the value of a business is constantly changing, fluctuating with the markets, with each added project, every sway of popular opinion and pension payment. Well, what if when the time came it turned out your company was only worth a measly £1?? It happens more often than you think and there’s often a juicy story behind it, so let’s take a peek behind the curtain at some of the most amazing businesses that sold incredibly cheap! Most for just £1 (or less!)
Lehman Bros Europe
The financial crash of 2008 was felt worldwide and caused a lot of upheaval and turmoil as far as the financial sector was concerned. One of the key figures at the centre of the controversy was economics powerhouse Lehman Bros. They filed for bankruptcy at the height of the crisis and were soon parsed out and bought up by other, less destitute financial institutions. The European arm of the company was acquired by Nomura Holdings for a paltry $2. (yes, I know technically more than £1 but still pretty small!)
Lotus Formula 1
While the automobile manufacturer had been producing cars in the UK since the 1950’s its somewhat niche productions and handmade methods lost some of their lustre in the latter part of the century and so come the mid 2000’s was beginning to struggle. The Lotus Group was made up of many different manufacturing sub sectors and were divided up as and when god enough offers were made, in 2015, after many years as a shareholder in the F1 arm of the business, Renault, an already huge name in the sport, procured the necessary shares (6,744,444!)
and became the official ‘parent’ of Lotus’ racing endeavours with a token purchase payment of just £1.
At it’s peak British Home Stores was considered by many as a mainstay of the British environment, running as it had, from 1928 few town high streets were without one in its hay-day. However, a relatively slow and unabashed lack of development in the modern age meant the company was losing customers and money hand over fist as the 2010’s began. In 2015, down almost 10% of its sales from two years previous, surrounded by a whirlwind of media controversy Sir Phillip Green sold the company to an investment firm for just £1. The fallout being the eventual break-up of the company which at that point employed 12,000 people and had a pension fund of around £100m. Most extremely disgruntled that their ex-owner had taken a large bonus the previous year amid rising company profits.
Roman Abramovich oversees one of the most affluent football clubs in the UK, Chelsea FC. How it came to be so however is a much-vaunted fable of this style of rock -bottom pricing. In 1982 Chelsea was not one of the UK’s most soluble clubs, it had debts of around £1.5m and the Landlords at its home ground of Stamford Bridge were on the verge of evicting them. The then owner sold the club to a wealthy hotel mogul, Keith Bates, who used his business savvy and not inconsiderable fortune to turn the club around. When he came to sell in 2003 Chelsea were once more a top tier team and Roman was willing to pay 140 million times Keith’s initial £1 investment
The Millennium Dome was conceived by the government of the UK in 1994 as a way to mark the Millennium. It was to be a hyper-modern pavilion exhibition space on the banks of the Thames. Unfortunately, when it opened to coincide with the 1st January 2000 it was not packed as any would like. It didn’t reach it’s first year goal of 6 million visitors and as such was seen as an overpriced money sponge. The government briskly passed the space on to Meriden Delta, an investment consortium, who within 4 years managed to broker a deal with telecoms giant O2 to license the dome as a performance venue, and thus The O2 was born, from a sale that cost Meriden’s investors the princely sum of £1.
It wouldn’t do to end without the tale of the Terminator. James Cameron had the monopoly on blockbuster movies for quite a while back in the early 2000’s. Titanic is without doubt the biggest blockbuster of the 1990’s and Avatar not only held the record for highest grossing film of all time (until recently) but also essentially single-handedly kickstarted the 3D cinematography trend. Having said all this, everyone starts somewhere and Cameron was no exception, before he made The Terminator he was basically a nobody in the world of cinema, so, given how well the movie holds up it’s no surprise he needed some backing to get the project off the ground. So what’s a man to do when he’s got nothing but a script and the shirt on his back, sell the rights of course! So he did, to producer Gale Anne Hurd. This gave him the money he needed to go on and produce two incredibly well received movies in the franchise and become the household name he is today. How much did he sell for … you guessed it $1 not even £1! Since then some have said the Terminator properties have taken a dip in quality without their original father at the helm … but Mr Cameron gains the rights to his creation back this year … he’s planning to keep hold of them this time.