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15 Most Valuable Companies In History

In this article, we will take a look at 15 of the most valuable companies in history. If you want to see some more of the most valuable companies in history, go directly to 5 Most Valuable Companies In History.

Many of the most valuable companies in history dominate their industries. Some of the most valuable companies in history dominated oil and gas. Some are leaders in information technology and computing. All of the companies created a lot of value for their shareholders.

In terms of what creates the most valuable companies in history, the size of the country's economy that a company is from is a key component. If a company's parent country is a small country, it is harder for that company to reach the scale needed to be considered among the most valuable in history. If the company's parent country is a nation with a huge economy, on the other hand, there are likely more markets that have the scale to allow companies to grow to reach very valuable status.

In the 16th century, the Dutch were the leading economic power. As things changed, the British became the leading economic power in the 18th and 19th century. As a result, some Dutch and British companies have made it to the list of 15 Most Valuable Companies In History.

In the 20th century, the United States became the leading economic power. Immediately after World War II, the United States had around half the world's GDP and much of the world's wealth. With much of the world's wealth, many American companies had the capital necessary to expand overseas and gain substantial market share. With much of the world as potential markets, American companies can gain more revenue and potentially more profits. As a result of the dominance of the United States economically, many American companies make this list.

Another factor that helps companies make it to the list of 15 Most Valuable Companies In History is the era that they operate.

In terms of eras, modern day companies are more likely to be more valuable given the growth in the global economy. Because economies have advanced so much over the past 100 years, the markets today are much larger than the markets 100 years ago. With globalization, modern day companies also have opportunities at a larger market.

The emergence of technology has also created many valuable companies, some of which also make the list of the 15 Most Valuable Companies In History.

With technology, companies can grow very quickly and potentially capture a monopoly on very valuable markets that many people use. Microsoft is one example with Windows. Given that technology may not cost all that much to produce after it's first created, some tech sectors can also have higher margins than other industries. With higher margins and larger markets, it can be easier for some tech companies to be considered very valuable.

In terms of the composition of the 15 Most Valuable Companies In History, the majority are tech companies and many exist today.

Pixabay/Public Domain

Methodology

For our list of 15 Most Valuable Companies In History, we used peak market cap to rank the companies since some of the most valuable companies no longer exist today. Some have also fallen in market cap from their peaks. For companies that existed hundreds of years ago, we used subjective measures to rank them.

For the peak market cap, we used data from Ycharts.

15 Most Valuable Companies In History

15. NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA)

Peak Market Capitalization: $834.40 billion

NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) is a leader in GPUs which is in some ways better suited for some AI applications than traditional CPUs. Given the huge anticipated growth in AI, investors sent NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) to a peak market capitalization of over $830 billion before the stock eventually fell to its current valuation of around $300 billion.

If the company maintains its lead in the AI chip market, however, NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) could have upside. In terms of hedge funds, Fisher Asset Management was one of the top hedge fund holders with a holding of almost 7.6 million shares at the end of Q2.

14. Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA)

Peak Market Capitalization: $858.50 billion

Given its market share in e-commerce and the cloud in China, Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA) achieved a peak market capitalization of over $850 billion before its stock fell due to the Chinese government beginning to reign in the tech giants in the nation. With China's economy weaker and the broader weakness in the market, Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA) has a market capitalization of around $220 billion. There is a chance that Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA) stock could be delisted if China and the United States can't agree on accounting terms.

13. PetroChina

Peak Market Capitalization:$1 trillion

PetroChina achieved the $1 trillion mark briefly when it debuted in 2007. As a result, PetroChina became the first company to break through the $1 trillion mark. Since its IPO, however, PetroChina stock hasn't done very well and the company actually withdrew its listing on the NYSE.

12. International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM)

Peak Market Capitalization: $1 trillion

International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) was worth $258.6 billion in 1967, which assuming the growth in the stock market, could easily be considered worth $1 trillion or even more today. As a result, International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) is ranked #12 on our list of 15 Most Valuable Companies In History.

Back then International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) was one of the most dominant mainframe computing companies with substantial market share.

Today, International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) is overshadowed by bigger companies in computing but still has potential upside if the economy doesn't slow as much as expected.

11. Meta Platforms, Inc. (NASDAQ:META)

Peak Market Capitalization: $1.078 trillion

At its peak, Meta Platforms, Inc. (NASDAQ:META) was worth $1.078 trillion as the market anticipated substantial future earnings growth from the company given its billions of daily users and many different ways of monetizing those users.

Given competition from TikTok as well as the worsening economy, however, Meta Platforms, Inc. (NASDAQ:META) is worth around $375 billion as of October 7.

There is potential upside in Meta Platforms, Inc. (NASDAQ:META) if it can maintain its user base and grow earnings. Although the market isn't very optimistic about the metaverse, Meta Platforms, Inc. (NASDAQ:META) could also benefit if the metaverse does become a huge market as CEO Mark Zuckerberg expects. Renaissance Technologies owned almost 5.5 million shares at the end of Q2.

10. Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA)

Peak Market Capitalization: $1.239 trillion

Although it isn't the largest auto maker in the world, Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) achieved the highest peak market capitalization of all auto makers with a peak value of $1.239 trillion. With a market capitalization of over $750 billion as of October 7, Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) is still by the most valuable car company in the world.

As the electric vehicle leader, investors expect substantial earnings growth in Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA)'s future. Given its CEO in Elon Musk, many expect Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) to be among the leaders in autonomous driving. ARK Investment Management was one of the top holders of Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) at the end of the second quarter.

9. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)

Peak Market Capitalization: $1.888 trillion

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has been one of the best growth stocks over the last twenty years. As a result of its growth, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has achieved the number one position in both e-commerce and the cloud, both of which are huge markets. With its positions, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) achieved a peak market capitalization of $1.888 trillion. That ranks the company as #9 on our list of 15 Most Valuable Companies In History.

Although its market cap is around $1.25 trillion as of October 7, the stock could still have upside if it continues its earnings growth.

8. Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG)

Peak Market Capitalization: $2.001 trillion

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has also been one of the best growth stocks since its IPO in 2004. Thanks to its leading market share in search and also its smart acquisition of YouTube, Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has become one of the most profitable companies in the world. As one of the world's leading tech giants, Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) also achieved a peak market cap of $2 trillion. TCI Fund Management owned almost 2.5 million shares at the end of Q2.

7. Saudi Aramco

Peak Market Capitalization: $2.43 trillion.

Saudi Aramco is the world's biggest oil company and also the leading company in Saudi Arabia. Given its huge oil reserves and substantial profits, Saudi Aramco is also one of the most valuable companies in history with a peak market capitalization of over $2.4 trillion. Given the higher oil prices, Saudi Aramco reported that is net income rose 90% to $48.4 billion in Q2 2022.

6. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Peak Market Capitalization: $2.576 trillion

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has also been one of the best growth stocks in history since its founding in 1975. As a result, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) achieved a peak market capitalization of $2.576 trillion, which ranks it #6 on our list of 15 Most Valuable Companies In History. Although it's valued under $2 trillion now due to the broader market decline, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) could have upside if it continues to grow its earnings.

Click to continue reading and see 5 Most Valuable Companies In History.

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Disclosure: None. 15 Most Valuable Companies In History is originally published on Insider Monkey.