The 11 most expensive business mistakes in history

By on June 30, 2014

Everyone screws up now and then, but these costly clangers really take the biscuit.

  • Betting big on the mortgage market

Bond trader Howie Hubler lost Morgan Stanley around R100 billion (estimates vary), the biggest loss made on Wall Street by any single trader ever. He rather sensibly shorted subprime mortgages, but then bet big on slightly higher quality home loans that still ended up being worth nada.

  • Not keeping track of your investments

Back in direct payday lenders 2009, positively swathed in the fog of time, James Howell mined advance payday loans 7 500 Bitcoins, then worth almost nothing. Fast-forward to 2013 and those very same virtual payday loan consolidation moneys could be sold for more than R70 million. The catch? Howell had thrown the hard drive away, after he spilt a drink on the computer, dismantled the parts and stashed them in a drawer payday 2 enb for years, forgetting about the Bitcoins.

  • Not seeing the next big thing

20th Century Fox missed out on as much as R270 billion after they let George Lucas keep the merchandising and licensing rights to Star Wars instead of giving him a R3 million salary raise, as they thought the film would be a flop.

  • Trying to hide losses

Toshihide Iguchi racked up a total loss of R11 billion for Daiwa Bank in the 80s, after trying and continually failing to recoup what was originally a R700 000 failed bet on US government bonds in 1983. But he couldn’t hide the losses forever (as Enron’s bosses and Societe Generale rogue trader Jerome Kerviel also learnt the hard way) and the Feds finally caught up with him 12 years later.

  • Keeping on keeping on when you’re losing

Nick Leeson was so sure he could get back the money he was losing in the mid-90s, he ended up bringing down Barings, Britain’s oldest investment bank. Six and a half years in a Singaporean prison is no fun for anyone, although on the bright side he got to be portrayed by Ewan McGregor in the 1999 film of the debacle (unimaginatively titled Rogue Trader).

  • Taking enormous risks when you’re meant to be hedging against them

Bruno Iksil – a.k.a the London Whale – lost JP Morgan R65 billion in 2012, after a familiar cycle of making bigger and bigger bets best payday loans online to try and offset spiralling losses. Except he was working for chief investment officer Ina Drew, who tried to turn what was meant to be hedging against risk into a money-spinner. And just look how that worked out.

In the mid-50s, Ford thought everything it touched turned to gold. Its Edsel model was more pewter: Too big, too similar-looking to other Ford models and priced all wrong, the car giant sunk R3.5 billion into producing it, ez internet payday system login before ditching it in 1959.

  • Mixing up metric and imperial

In 1999, NASA lost a R1.25 billion Mars orbiter craft in space because it forgot to check everyone was using the same measuring system. Lockheed Martin worked in the ‘English system’ of inches, feet, and yards, despite being an American company, while payday loan everyone else was payday 2 wiki using centimetres and metres. One teeny tiny oversight and the craft’s coordinates weren’t transferred between Lockheed’s lab in Denver and NASA in sunny California.

  • Not valuing your assets properly

In 1867, Russia’s Tsar Alexander II looked at Alaska and saw nothing but a massive lump of ice that he didn’t particularly fancy going to war over. payday loans It meant the US got its paws on huge oil and gold reserves for the kingly sum of R72 million.

  • Failing to protect your commercial secrets

In the 70s, Xerox created the first desktop PC controlled by a mouse, but never bothered selling online payday loan it. Ten years later, Steve Jobs and other Apple employees took a three-day tour of Xerox’s R&D facility in return for R10 million in Apple shares. Those are now worth more than R140 billion, but the Mac maker’s market cap is more than R5.5 trillion.

  • Buying at the top of a market

AOL gobbled up media company Time Warner for R1.64 payday loans trillion in shares, way above its value, in February 2000. Then came the dot com crash in 2001, and the merged behemoth reported a record-annihilating loss of R1 trillion in 2002. When the two companies were spun apart at the end of 2009 Time payday loan direct lenders Warner was worth in the region of R400 billion and AOL was valued at just R18 billion. Even Time Warner boss Jeff Bewkes called payday 2 gameplay the deal, “The biggest mistake in corporate history.”

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