Is Nike A Publicly Traded Company?

Is Nike A Publicly Traded Company

When talking about the biggest companies in America, there is no way you won’t talk about Nike. Nike is a multinational corporation that involves in the development, design, manufacturing, and marketing of equipment, footwear, apparel, and allied services. Nike’s headquarters is close to Beaverton, Oregon within the Portland area.

It has the unique reputation of being the largest supplier of athletic apparel and shoes in the whole world. It is also a manufacturer of sporting equipment with revenue peaking at over $24 Billion as of 2012. Is Nike a publicly-traded company? We will attempt to answer that and a few other questions here.

Is Nike a Publicly Traded Company?

Yes, Nike trades with the symbol NKE. The company went public in December 1980 and as at that time; it had about fifty percent of the total market share value. The stock currently ranks at about $65 and pays dividends of about $0.80 for each share held. There are times when the share has traded for below $50 and peaked at about $75.

Based on statistics from 2012, it indicated that over 44,000 people were in its use worldwide. The brand valued at over $19 Billion thus making it the most valuable sports brand in the world. Based on data from 2017, Nike valued at over $29.6 Billion. It ranked as number 89 in the list of Fortune 500 companies in America based on revenue.

The Story Behind Nike’s IPO

Nike launched its stock to the public market through an initial public offer back on the second of December 1980. The starting price was 18 cents. What this means is that as at the time the company went public, you could have bought 5,555 shares at $1,000. That would have translated to 711,040 shares valued at $52,154,783 today. The company started paying off cash dividends every quarter starting from 1984. And since 2004, the company has upgraded the dividends each year. For instance, as t 2018, the company paid about 77 cents as dividends for each share held.

When And How Was Nike Founded?

The rich and robust history of Nike dates back to 1964 when the company became by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight with the name Blue Ribbon Sports. The name Nike was from the Greek goddess of victory “Nike”. Besides its equipment and sportswear manufacturing, Nike is also known to sponsor several high profile sports teams and athletes scattered all over the world.

In its first year of operations, it sold about 1,300 pairs of running shoes with an income of $8,000. By 1965, the company had already engaged full-time employees and its sales and income got up to $20,000. By 1966, it had opened its first retail outlet in California. This new development meant that its employees no longer had to sell their wares off the back of their cars. With an increase in sales and customer base, its operations expanded to the east coast.

Then came in 1976 when the company engaged the services of John Brown and Partners as their first advertising agency. The next year saw the agency come up with the first ad for Nike, the ad known as “There is no finish line”. The year 1980 saw the company meet a 50% market share in American athletic shoe space.

The 1980s saw Nike expanding its product line to include several regions and sports around the world. Back in 1990, the company moved into an eight-story building as its operational headquarters. The company’s first retail store known as Niketown came in downtown Portland in November that same year.

Nike’s Progress Timeline In Dates

Nike’s Progress Timeline In Dates

Certain important dates define the progress and development of the brand we now know as Nike. Their journey to becoming a publicly-traded company is not one that began overnight, here is a breakdown of the same.


The company we now know as Nike started as a product of the vision of two individuals. The first man Bill Bowerman was a well-respected coach in track and field from the University of Oregon. He was one who sought to give his athletes a competitive edge. He had great research and innovations, especially with running shoes.

The union between Bowerman and Knight started when Knight who was then enrolled in Oregon in 1955. When he graduated from Oregon, he got an MBA in Finance from the prestigious Stanford University. At Stanford, he wrote a paper and made a proposal that they make quality shoes in Japan that could well compete with the established German brands. But, some of his attempts to reach the major forces in Asia and Japan went unanswered.

He took a chance by making a cold call to Onitsuka Co in Japan. He made a deal to make Knight a major distributor of Tiger shoes in America. With the arrival of the first set of running shoes, he reached out to Bowerman with the hope of making a sale. But, Bowerman instead proposed a partnership.

The 1960-1969 eras

This era saw them come into agreement with Blue Ribbon Sports and the first order of 300 pairs of shoes came in 1964. The shoes sold out of the back of Knight’s green Plymouth Valiant.

Bowerman began taking the Tiger Shoes apart to see how he could make them lighter for running, he also enlisted his Oregon students to test-run them. This was the foundation of what would later be Nike. It is worthy of note that both founders had full-time jobs then. This meant they needed someone to help manage the business in a full-time capacity. This is where Jeff Johnson came into the picture.

1970 to 1979

This era is best referred to as the era that gave birth to the Nike brand and the company. The first product brochure was created by Johnson along with marketing materials with the photographs of the company’s catalog. He was responsible for designing several Nike shoes while also coming up with the name “Nike” in 1971.

By this time there were issues between the suppliers and the new company. Hence, there arose a need for a transition from being a distributor into a manufacturer. This birthed a brand mark that is now known as Swoosh made by a student at Portland State University. The new Nike line came to being in 1972 which was the same time as the Track and Field Trials in Eugene.

There was yet a great need for a notable personality to endorse the new line of Nike products and this brought about Coos Bay, Prefontaine. Prefontaine on record was never known to lose a race at home in the one-mile distance and soon gained widespread exposure. He soon became a brand ambassador for BRS and Nike after his graduation from Oregon. He even went to make several appearances for BRS while also sending Nike shoes to runners with notes of encouragement.


This was the era of transition and rededication. During this time, Nike launched the Air technology in the Tailwind shoes back in 1979. As at the end of the 80s, Nike launched its IPO and began operating as a publicly-traded company. During this time, Phil Knight resigned as the president even though he remained the board chairman and CEO. During the mid-1980s, the company saw a slip in its position as a leader in the industry. A debut by Michael Jordan’s shoes gave the company a boost in 1985.

Also, 1987 saw Nike come up with a marketing campaign that aimed to regain its lead in the industry. While also setting Nike apart from its competitors. The main focus was the Nike Max which was the first shoe in the line that featured Airbags. This campaign was yet supported by a unique TV ad that had the original Beetles recording as its soundtrack.

From 1990-1999

This is the era in which Nike sought to extend its market reach. This was further encouraged by the launching of several marketing campaigns and product launches. In 1994, Nike signed a deal with several players in the Brazilian world cup winning team. By 1995, Nike signed up the whole team and soon began designing the team’s uniform. Also, Nike signed up Tiger Woods for a deal worth $5 million each year. They scorned the deal as a dumb one until Tiger Woods won the 1997 Masters with a record 12 strokes.

Final Word

We have been able to establish the fact that Nike is a publicly-traded company and it got this status in the 1980s. We also saw what your share value would have been if you bought some of its shares when it went public. The simple reality is that Nike is a very profitable company and it does seem to change anytime soon. We hope you study the history of the company as we have outlined. This is to help you get a better perspective of what the future holds for the company.

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