Blockbuster's CEO once passed up a chance to buy Netflix for only $50 million

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John Antioco

Bloomberg

Former Blockbuster CEO John Antioco

Former Blockbuster workers all over the world must cringe every time they hear the words "online streaming" and "on-demand."

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That's because back in 2000, Reed Hastings approached former Blockbuster CEO John Antioco and asked for $50 million to give away the company he founded - Netflix.

Antioco, thinking that it was a "very small niche business," ended the negotiations and didn't buy Netflix, which at the time was a DVD mailing service, according to Variety.

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Now Netflix - just short of being worth the same as CBS last year - soared past the television network owner with a $32.9 billion market valuation. Netflix also reached the 50 million mark in subscribers of its paid service and became available in 40 countries, CNN Money reported last year.

"Management and vision are two separate things. [Netflix was] losing money," a former Blockbuster exec told Variety back in 2013, explaining Antioco's decision.

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This isn't the first time that a company missed out on an opportunity that could have shifted continents of the business world. There have been other bitter "what ifs" including: Verizon shunning Apple for the first model of the iPhone, Comcast foregoing Disney, Friendster refusing Google, and AOL merging with Time Warner instead of AT&T.

Perhaps the company that made the biggest blunder in tech history is Yahoo, which had chances to buy both Google and Facebook.

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