Information security
Information security

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Information security

1 Information: the heart of everything with value

In May 2016, Coca-Cola’s shareholders valued the company at almost US $200 billion. Their accountants placed its value at US $24.91 billion (Wolfram Alpha, 2016a).

Why the difference? Is this just accountants being prissy?

Well, no. Accountants like to work on the realised value of the company, called book value; that is the total value of its tangible assets: its property, computers, manufacturing plant etc.

In contrast, shareholders value the things in a company that can make money, called it’s market value. So on top of the tangible assets, their interest includes the information that a company holds. For Coca-Cola, that includes John S. Pemberton’s famous recipe which, according to Coca-Cola’s investors, could be worth anything up to US $175bn.

Activity 1: Coca-Cola’s secret recipe

Using Wikipedia – or a similar online tool – find out what you can about the recipe for Coca-Cola.


From Wikipedia [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (2016a), it appears that the secret of the recipe comes down to the ‘7X formula’, a special blend of oils, herbs and spices such as orange, cinnamon and coriander. Wikipedia lists them and their proportions, but we don’t know for certain whether Coca-Cola actually contains them nor their proportions.

You might like to try making it.


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