How many of you remember 1995? I would guess there are a few of you who weren't even born! But 1995 had a number of significant events including Finland winning the ice hockey world championship, Microsoft releasing Windows 95, Netscape becoming a public company and the final original Calvin and Hobbes comic strip being published! Of course, it was a big year for Pixar as they released Toy Story, their first and the first ever full length computer animated feature film! You might think the folks at Pixar would be nervous leading up to the film's release, but CEO Steve Jobs must have been confident as he scheduled Pixar's IPO exactly one week after the theatrical release, on November 28, 1995.
Just like the Netscape IPO a few months earlier, the Pixar IPO was highly anticipated. The IPO brought 6.9 million shares to the public market at $22/share. The proceeds from it provided Pixar with almost $140 million which was used to expand the studio as they worked on producing A Bug's Life and Toy Story 2. The stock opened at $47/share, more than double its offering price, and closed its first day of trading at $39, valuing the company at almost $1.5 billion! As Steve Jobs owned approximately 30 million shares, he became an instant billionaire that day.
Looking back, Steve Jobs was right to be confident. Toy Story ended up becoming an immediate classic, earning a perfect 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and becoming the highest grossing film of 1995, earning close to $362 million worldwide.