Do You Hear That Ringing?

Zebra Leads Nasdaq Closing Market Bell Ceremony on May 1 to Mark Company’s 50th Anniversary

Zebra rings the Nasdaq closing market bell on May 1 at Times Square in New York City in celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary. Photography by Libby Greene/Nasdaq, Inc.
by Mike Steele
May 02, 2019

Yesterday (May 1), we had the honor of ringing the bell at the Nasdaq MarketSite Studio in Times Square to signal the close of stock market trading and mark the 50th anniversary of Zebra.

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The Zebra team stands in Times Square ahead of the Nasdaq closing bell ceremony on May 1, 2019. Photography by Libby Greene/Nasdaq, Inc.

Photography by Libby Greene/Nasdaq, Inc.

This isn’t the first time Zebra has been invited to lead the ceremony. We led the opening bell ceremony on August 15, 2011, to mark the 20-year anniversary of our Initial Public Offering (IPO) as you can see in this #ThrowbackThursday video. On April 6, 2015, we had the privilege of ringing the opening bell to celebrate the acquisition of Motorola Solutions' Enterprise business. A bold new logo – the one you know today – lit up New York City’s Times Square for the first time.

Zebra employees gather before the Nasdaq opening bell ceremony on April 16, 2015, during which time Zebra's new logo (the one still used today) was revealed.

Though I had not yet joined Zebra, those who were in attendance at both ceremonies told me yesterday’s experience was just as thrilling as the last time. The energy was high, as it should be for such a celebratory occasion.

It has been nearly 28 years since Zebra made its IPO for $3.44 per share (split adjusted), and our stock price has outperformed the Nasdaq Composite index by a very wide margin!

A picture of the document confirming Zebra’s Initial Public Offering of Class A Common Stock on the U.S. stock exchange in 1991.

In fact, Zebra stock recently reached its all-time intraday high price of $237.15 on April 24. All of these accomplishments can be credited to the steady and persistent innovation that has occurred at Zebra over the last 50 years, as well as the company’s continual transformation.

Zebra had a very humble beginning. In 1969, two young entrepreneurs in Chicago, Illinois – Ed Kaplan and Gary Cless – committed $1,000 of capital to design electromechanical equipment in their spare time. They were successful in selling paper tape punches at the point of sale under the name Data Specialties. Their innovative spirit ultimately led to the first barcode label printer in 1982. In 1986, they changed the company name to Zebra to pay homage to the black and white stripes on their printer labels.

Since then, prudent organic investments and a number of business acquisitions have fueled Zebra’s growth. The most notable being the 2014 transformational acquisition of the Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise business, which gave us mobile computing and advanced data capture solutions to complement our successful specialty printing business. This was a truly transformational decision for Zebra, but it wasn’t the only one – and we’ve never strayed from our innovative roots.

Today, Zebra is worth over $14 billion, with more than half of our $4+ billion in sales now generated outside the United States. We have well over 7,000 employees located in more than 45 countries, and a community of 10,000 channel partners fueling our business – and we have no plans to stop growing. We’re investing more than $400 million in annual research and development (R&D) to drive continued innovation and industry leadership. We also continue to make strategic acquisitions, as you’ve seen recently with the Xplore and Temptime acquisitions.

As we reflect on how far we’ve come over the last five decades, it’s important to re-iterate that Zebra remains a forward-thinking company. As Zebra CEO Anders Gustafsson noted in his comments at the Nasdaq bell-ringing yesterday: Zebra will continue to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit upon which Ed and Gary built the company 50 years ago. We are committed to delivering the innovative solutions that help our customers run their businesses smarter and faster through increased operational visibility. This, in turn, will keep us well-positioned to continue to drive shareholder value.

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Editor’s Note: Check out Zebra’s Investor Relations page for more information on the company’s financials, and follow Your Edge each week for insights into company innovations, customer successes and expert market insights from around the world.

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Mike Steele
As Vice President of Investor Relations for Zebra, Mike Steele serves as the primary contact for the investment community and drives financial communications.
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