Useless But Compelling Facts – December 2011

Having just posted the Super Bowl answers, let’s turn our attention to another sport – initial public offerings, or IPOs. Hearing the news that a Facebook public offering is in the works, and that analysts are prognosticating it might be worth US$100 billion, I thought I would do a little digging of my own about how this all got started.

So our trivia questions to bring 2011 to a close relate to the world of IPOs. Let’s see how business savvy you all are and perhaps we’ll let you ring in the New Year with a bottle of bubbly as the prize.
What was the name of the first company in the world that ever issued stock? Just so we don’t make it too easy, you need to also tell us where it was incorporated, the year the stock was issued, whether it paid a dividend (some of you are saying, "You’re kidding, right?") and whether it – or actually a successor corporation – is still around.

If you think you know the answers, send me an email at, and if you are first with the complete, correct answer, you’ll win.