Ross Perot is best known for his presidential run, but he also sold two tech companies for billions

Key Points
  • Perot founded two technology companies that were bought for billions.
  • Perot once lost more than $450 million on paper during a stock market dip in 1970. 
  • He received a buyout of more than $700 million from General Motors in 1986. 
Independent presidential candidate Ross Perot holds up a copy of the famous Chicago Daily Tribune front page declaring Thomas Dewey the winner over Harry Truman in the 1948 presidential election 01 November 1992 during a rally in California.
Mike Nelson | AFP | Getty Images

Former presidential candidate Ross Perot first entered the national consciousness as a successful technology entrepreneur, decades before his historic performance in the 1992 presidential election.

Perot, who died Tuesday at the age of 89, started his career in sales at IBM and later founded two tech companies that would be acquired in multi-billion dollar deals.

He founded his first company, Electronic Data Systems, in 1962. It primarily provided outsourced IT services for companies, as well as consulting.

EDS went public in 1968. When EDS was still public, its stock took a major hit in 1970 and Perot lost more than $450 million on paper, according to Nasdaq

General Motors bought a controlling interest in 1984 for $2.5 billion. GM then bought out Perot completely two years later for more than $700 million. He was the auto giant's largest individual shareholder at the time.

At the time, Perot called a plan from GM to close plants and layoff workers "morally wrong," according to the Associated Press. Protecting industrial jobs would become a major theme of his political career.

EDS later spun back out of GM before being acquired by Hewlett Packard in 2008.

After EDS, Perot founded Perot Systems, an information technology company, in 1988. The company went public in 1999, at the height of the 1990s tech boom. Dell bought Perot systems in 2009 for $3.9 billion.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.