Col. Harland Sanders sold his stake in Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1964 for $2 million, and when he died in 1980, he was worth an estimated $3.5 million. When he sold his portion of the company, there were 600 KFC restaurants in the United States.
In 1971, there were 3,500 restaurants worth more than $285 million when KFC was purchased by Heublein Inc. Fifteen years later, Pepsico bought the brand for $840 million.
The chicken restaurant began as a cafe in Corbin, Ky., in the 1930s before Sanders was forced to close it after a new interstate highway was built. It took Sanders more than 1,000 tries before someone else bought into his fried chicken concept, and the first KFC restaurant opened in 1952 as a franchised investment.