Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) - Get Reportstellar third quarter earnings have boosted global market sentiment, lifted tech shares in Asia to their highest levels in 17 years and look set to value the iPhone giant at more than $800 billion at the start of trading Tuesday.
They've also made one of Hollywood's most charmingly serendipitous characters a very rich man.
Forrest Gump, the famous "gardener from Greenbow, Alabama" and star of the eponymous 1994 Oscar-winning film who met three Presidents, earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism in Vietnam, won All-America status as a kick returner for the Crimson Tide and made headlines with his solo run across America in the mid-1970s, was also one of the earliest investors in the nascent personal computer maker.
Mind you, the foresight wasn't entirely down to Forrest: his erstwhile army buddy and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company co-founder, Lieutenant Dan Taylor, put him into Apple after Forrest decided to return to Greenbow and wait for his beloved Jenny after cornering the Louisiana crustacean market.
Lieutenant Dan "did take care of my Bubba Gump money ... he got me invested in some kinda 'fruit company'," Gump explains to his bus stop companion. "So then I got a call from him sayin' we don't have to worry about money no more. And I said: 'That's good. One less thing'."
The Retro Hollywood blog posts a letter to Gump, signed by former (fictional) CFO J. Wellington Bigby, dated Sept. 23, 1975, that thanks him for hits "foresight perspicacious" and touts the impending success of the "Lisa" personal computer.
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Unfortunately, Steves Jobs and Wozniak created Apple on April 1, 1976, and incorporated the Cupertino, California-based group in January of the following year, making the 1975 investment prospect impossible. Nonetheless, Apple did float on the Nasdaq on Dec. 12, 1980, after selling 4.6 million shares at $22 each in the biggest IPO since Ford Motor Co. (F) - Get Report in 1956.
Assuming Lt. Dan was one of Apple's 'Angel Investors' -- and certainly his Bubba Gump equity, as well as Forrest's media profile at the time, would have made him an attractive target for Jobs and Wozniak -- a $50,000 holding in pre-IPO Apple stock would be worth $17,535,653.49 as of the close of trading Tuesday.
However, it could be much, much more.
The Louisiana Seafood Board puts the annual value of the state's industry at $1.3 billion, a figure that, when translated into 1980 currency, likely values it in the region of $400 million. Given Bubba Gump's hammer-lock on shrimping at the time, following a once-in-a-generation storm that destroyed all the area's competition, we can comfortably put Forrest's annual income in the region of $10 million.
Forrest's austere lifestyle -- he lived in his Momma's house, used public transport and had no dependent children or debts at the time -- would likely mean Lt. Dan had a great deal of free cashflow to invest on his behalf.
Apple's IPO, according to media reports, created 217 millionaires, so it's safe to assume that Forrest would have made an investment of at least $500,000.
With stock price gains and dividends reinvested quarterly, Gump's "Fruit Company" stock would be worth just over $175.3 million this morning.
That's a lot of chocolate boxes.
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