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(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.