10 worst business decisions ever made

4. Excite refuses to buy Google for $1m

Former Excite CEO, George Bell, had the opportunity to buy Google in 1999 for 600,000. He decided to pass on the offer, thinking it would be a bad investment. 

15 years later, Google is now the number one search engine with an estimated market value of over 90bn.

5. Software guru misses out on becoming Bill Gates

In 1980, IBM was looking for a company that could supply their brand new invention, the PC, with an operating system. IBM wanted to collaborate with software savvy Gary Kildall. But Kildall decided to skip the meeting and pursue his favourite activity: flying his plane. 

IBM was angered and immediately turned to Bill Gates and Microsoft, which is now worth over 150bn.

6. Time Warner gets over-confident

In 2000, the chairman of Time Warner, Gerald Levin, secured a deal to merge with America Online (AOL). Levin was so confident in the deal that he decided not to place a collar on the transaction, which would have enabled Time Warner to revisit its terms if AOL’s stock would drop bellow a certain price. 

Time Warner executives urged Levin to re-think the deal, but he decided not to. Before the transaction was completed, AOL shares dropped by 50 per cent. To this day, Time Warner is still paying for the chairman’s mistake.

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