Mark Cuban is best known as one of the judges on the TV show Shark Tank and the owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team. Cuban started his career as an entrepreneur in the tech industry, but has been heavily involved in stock and private investing since the late 1990s. We’ll take a closer look at Cuban’s investing style and highlight several of Mark Cuban’s top stock picks over the past 20 years.
Who is Mark Cuban?
Mark Cuban is an American entrepreneur and investor. His career began in 1983 with the founding of MicroSolutions, a software reselling and consulting company that grew up in the early days of personal computing. After MicroSolutions sold to CompuServe for $6 million in 1990, Cuban went on to co-found the online audio streaming service Broadcast.com. Broadcast.com went public in 1998, then was acquired by Yahoo! in 1999 for $5.7 billion.
Cuban focused on tech stock investing in the wake of the dot-com boom and used part of the proceeds of his Broadcast.com sale to buy an ownership stake in the Dallas Mavericks. He then joined the judging panel of the TV show Shark Tank in 2011. Cuban remains a judge on Shark Tank and has been involved in cryptocurrency investing in recent years. He also launched a new company, Cost Plus Drugs, in 2022, which seeks to offer pharmaceutical drugs at a lower price than existing healthcare companies.
Mark Cuban Investment Style
There are two major throughlines in Mark Cuban’s investing.
The first is a long-held interest in tech and emerging technology. Both MicroSolutions and Broadcast.com, the companies that made him rich in the 1980s and 1990s, were players in the rapidly growing PC and internet markets at the time. After the dot-com boom, Cuban invested in companies like Amazon that were finding new ways to leverage the internet. More recently, Cuban invested in Netflix because he saw the potential of online streaming. Today he is one of the loudest supporters of cryptocurrency, which he sees as the next evolution of internet technology.
The second throughline in Cuban’s investing is a focus on private ventures. His role in Shark Tank enables Cuban to act as a small-scale venture capitalist for burgeoning entrepreneurs. At the same time, some of Cuban’s largest investments are in private holdings like the Dallas Mavericks and cryptocurrency startups. He also owns several self-founded companies, including Cost Plus Drugs.
Mark Cuban Stock Picks
While many of Mark Cuban’s largest investments have been outside the stock market, he has several notable stock picks, especially in the tech sector.
Mark Cuban invested in Amazon stock in 2015, at a price of around $25 per share. Cuban saw that many people had gotten used to using Amazon for everyday purchases, and realized that meant that Amazon could massively expand its footprint relative to traditional advertisers.
In 2019, Cuban revealed that he held close to $1 billion in Amazon shares. That was before the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in Amazon’s share price nearly doubling in value. Amazon shares have since returned to near-2019 values, although it’s not clear whether Cuban added to or reduce his position prior to the 2022 market decline.
One of Mark Cuban’s savviest stock trades involved Yahoo!, the company that bought Cuban’s Broadcast.com for $5.7 billion in stock in 1999. Rather than simply hold the Yahoo! Shares he received as part of the sale, Cuban used options to hedge his risk. He wrote call options and bought put options on Yahoo! shares, limiting his upside if Yahoo! shares rose, but also limiting his downside if Yahoo! shares fell.
At the time, he was nervous that the tech market couldn’t continue upwards indefinitely. Of course, Cuban was soon proven right as Yahoo! stock collapsed in 2001 during the dot-com crash.
Cuban announced on Twitter in 2014 that he was investing in Netflix at around $50 per share. He was bullish about the future of online video streaming, which makes sense given his experience with Broadcast.com and audio streaming in the 1990s.
Netflix stock rose sharply from 2014-2021, hitting an all-time high of more than $680 per share in late 2021. Although Netflix shares have suffered during the subsequent market decline, Cuban’s shares are still worth more than five times what he paid in 2014.
Mark Cuban is a long-time Twitter user, and he confirmed buying shares in the company in 2017, although he has never specified how large his initial investment was. At the time, Twitter shares traded around $17 apiece. Cuban cited Twitter’s advances in artificial intelligence and improvements to its newsfeed algorithm as the impetus for investing.
Cuban re-invested in Twitter in 2020 during the pandemic-driven market crash, when Twitter shares fell to around $25 apiece. Shareholders were paid $54.20 per share when Elon Musk took Twitter private in 2022, although it’s unclear if Cuban held until the sale.
Cuban also purchased Live Nation stock during the March 2020 market crash. His rationale was that Live Nation was a strong company that would survive the pandemic, and that the crash presented an opportunity to buy shares at fire-sale prices.
Cuban paid around $35 per share, and Live Nation is now trading at more than $75 per share.
Mark Cuban Lifetime Performance
Mark Cuban isn’t a fund manager and doesn’t file 13F statements, so it’s difficult to know exactly how his investments have performed over his lifetime. That said, he made the Forbes 400 list in 2022 and has an estimated net worth of $4.6 billion.
The stocks that Cuban is known to have purchased in the past 10 years have all vastly outperformed the market. Amazon and Netflix are two of the most profitable stocks of the past decade, gaining roughly 285% and 440%, respectively, since Cuban initiated positions. Twitter stock gained 220% between when Cuban bought it and when Elon Musk bought the company, and Live Nation stock is up 115% since 2020.
Notably, Cuban’s gains could have been even greater if he sold at the stock market’s peak in late 2021. He predicted a coming market decline as interest rates rose, so it’s very possible that he reduced his positions before share prices began to fall.
Outside of the stock market, the Dallas Mavericks represent perhaps Cuban’s best overall investment. He bought his ownership share in 2000 for $287 million. Today, the team is worth an estimated $2.2 billion, and Cuban controls 85% of the team.
Cuban has also said that he’s invested about $29 million through Shark Tank. He estimates that one-quarter of deals made through the show have done well, half have earned back his initial investment, and one-quarter have lost money.
Most recently, Cuban was exposed to the collapse of cryptocurrency firm Voyager Digital, with which the Dallas Mavericks had a partnership. Cuban has not revealed how much money he may have lost as a result of Voyager Digital’s bankruptcy. However, it appears that this bad investment has not made much of a dent in Cuban’s net worth.
Conclusion: Mark Cuban Stock Picks
Mark Cuban is an extraordinarily successful tech investor in addition to being the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and the face of Shark Tank. He’s worth an estimated $4.6 billion, in part thanks to well-timed investments in companies like Amazon and Netflix.