With the Powerball jackpot hitting a record $1.5 billion, a lucky winner in Wednesday night's drawing could easily afford snapping up a notable tech company or two from newly minted public company Box to established players like EarthLink Holdings to even, possibly, a unicorn.
If you haven't yet picked up your $2 ticket, there is still time. Forty-four states; Washington, D.C.; the US Virgin Islands; and Puerto Rico allow Powerball. Depending on the state you live in, tickets are sold up until an hour or two before the drawing. The drawing is held at 10:59 p.m. ET.
One interesting note is that 70% to 80% of consumers allow the computer to pick their ticket numbers, rather than manually selecting them. Some 70% to 80% of the winners come from computer picks, according to information in the Powerball FAQ. Software engineers may likely opt to come up with their own algorithm to pick their numbers, but, hey, technically that would still be a computer pick.
So, which tech companies may fall into the affordable range, should you be the lucky chosen one to win the $1.5 billion Powerball? Well, based on these companies' closing stock price Tuesday, and their market capitalization, which indicates their value, here are some prospects:
- Box, $1.35 billion. The cloud storage company came out with a top-performing IPO last year, but its shares were under pressure when its lock-up expired.
- Rambus, $1.32 billion. A chip company with a reputation for living off of its past patents through licensing deals, although it had recently decided to start manufacturing them itself, according to Fortune.
- Cray, $1.28 billion. This well-established supercomputer manufacturer is now facing an increasing threat from IBM's high-profile Jeopardy-playing supercomputer Watson.
- Etsy, $824 million. This e-commerce platform for artisans and crafts makers, which also went public last year, saw its stock hit a new low this week, according to a MarketWatch report. As Etsy's share price drops, you may be able, not only to pick up this company, but a Ferrari as well.
If you're aiming for a shopping spree, here are three that may fall into the affordable ranks: EarthLink Holdings, an Internet service provider with a market cap of $654.3 million as of Tuesday's close; Unisys, a $480 million IT services company; and RealNetworks, a $142.1 million software and services company for Internet streaming media.
Of course, there are the unicorns -- those startup companies that have managed to attract at least a $1 billion valuation from venture capitalists and other investors in the hope they will capture a windfall once those companies go public or are acquired. Some companies that received a valuation in the $1 billion range include Eventbright, which allows users to create or find an event, and Shazam, a site that aids users in identifying songs and other media, according to CB Insights' unicorn list.
With your Powerball ticket in hand and a list of potential tech companies to snap up, it's time to tune into the sites where you can watch the drawing. Hundreds of TV stations are expected to air the drawing, and the folks that run the multi-state Powerball organization will post the winning numbers on its own site.
But one important caveat for the nouveau riche: It can take up to two weeks before you can collect all or most of the money, since it all needs to funnel into the lottery office from a number of states, according to the Powerball FAQ. In that time some of these tech companies may become more expensive, or possibly cheaper -- so keep your expectations in check.
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