Last year, Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of troubled blood-testing company Theranos, was at the top of Forbes’ Richest Self-Made Women list with an estimated net worth of $4.5 billion, making her the
first youngest self-made female billionaire. On Wednesday, the magazine revised its estimate to “nothing.”
Forbes wrote that its estimate was based solely on her 50 percent ownership in Theranos, which was valued at $9 billion in 2014. Without it, Holmes’s net worth looks quite different:
Forbes spoke to a dozen venture capitalists, analysts and industry experts and concluded that a more realistic value for Theranos is $800 million, rather than $9 billion. That gives the company credit for its intellectual property and the $724 million that it has raised, according to VC Experts, a venture capital research firm. It also represents a generous multiple of the company’s sales, which Forbes has learned about from a person familiar with Theranos’ finances.
The company has recently become the subject of a criminal investigation and potential forced moratorium in services after its blood testing methods were found to be suspect and the company had recklessly put tens of individuals (edit: 81) in danger by failing to disclose a specific hematology test’s deficiencies. Last week, Theranos announced it had voided two years of blood test results because of potential inaccuracies.
Because Theranos investors own preferred shares, Forbes explains, they would get reimbursed before Holmes, who owns common stock. Were the company to be liquidated at its current value, Holmes wouldn’t get anything—as Forbes puts it: “Holmes’ stake is essentially worth nothing.”
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