After tasting a little success, most companies raise money from venture firms and then go public a few years later. On the other hand, there are many businesses that have been around for decades, but have chosen to remain privately-owned. The shares of private companies are held by only a small number of people. Unlike public listed companies, the privately-held businesses don’t have stringent legal disclosure obligations. Here we take a look at the top 10 largest private companies in America.
Ranked: The largest private companies in America
Since private companies are not required to disclose their financials, it’s difficult to rank them based on market valuation. Forbes has ranked the largest private companies based on their revenues in the most recent fiscal year. Most companies in this list have no plans to go public in the near future. These are the largest privately-held businesses in America.
10- C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc.
With $27 billion in revenue and 16,200 employees, C&S Wholesale Grocers is the largest wholesale grocery distributor in the United States. It was founded in 1918 as a supplier to independent grocery stores. The Keene, New Hampshire-based company has set up distribution centers across the country. It supplies more than 140,000 products to more than 14,000 supermarkets, chain stores, and institutions across the country. Richard Cohen, its sole owner, has a net worth of $11 billion.
9- Reyes Holdings
Rosemont, Illinois-based Reyes Holdings had an estimated revenue of $27.8 billion in the latest fiscal year. It’s a leading food and beverage wholesaler. Reyes Holdings delivers nearly a billion cases of food and beverage products to retailers around the world. It also has a division that supplies food and other items to McDonald’s. The company has more than 31,000 employees.
8- Publix Super Markets
Headquartered in Lakeland, Florida, Publix is one of the largest supermarket chains in the United States. The company with 193,000 employees is estimated to have annual revenue of $34.6 billion. Publix was founded by George Jenkins in 1930. It is largely owned by employees. The company operates more than 1,200 grocery stores, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities.
7- Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is one of the Big Four professional services firms. It posted revenues of $34.8 billion in the fiscal year 2018. Ernst & Young has about 250,000 employees around the world. It offers consulting, auditing, tax, and other services to both private and public companies. Founded in 1849, the company is headquartered in London. But the legal structure of Ernst & Young and other professional services firms is such that the separate member firms function as independent legal entities. It is one of the best places to work for, according to Fortune magazine.
6- Mars, Inc.
McLean, Virginia-based Mars is a global leader in food products. Founded in 1911, it has more than 100,000 employees and posted revenues of $35 billion in the latest fiscal year. Mars owns popular brands such as M&M’s, Snickers, Twix, Whiskas cat food, and Uncle Ben’s rice. It also owns the pet food maker Pedigree. The company is fully owned by the Mars family.
PricewaterhouseCoopers is one of the Big Four professional services firms with annual revenue of $41.3 billion. It offers a range of accounting, advisory, tax, and auditing services to clients. The company has more than 236,000 employees across the globe. The PwC was founded in 1849 by Samuel Price as an accounting firm. It is one of the most valuable brands in the world. Its legal structure is similar to other professional services firms.
Deloitte is the world’s largest professional services firm with $43.2 billion revenue and more than 263,000 employees. It provides financial advisory, tax consulting, risk management, and auditing services to clients. It was founded in 1845 by William Welch Deloitte. It is the fourth largest private company in the US, according to Forbes.
Founded in 1939 by Joe Albertson in Boise, Idaho, Albertsons has grown into one of the largest grocery chains in the country. It posted $59.9 billion revenue in the latest fiscal year and has more than 275,000 employees. It has more than 2,300 stores and 400 gas stations in the US. It is currently owned by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management. After buying Safeway, Albertsons filed for an IPO in 2015 to go public. But that plan was put on hold due to “recent market volatility.”
2- Koch Industries
Owned and operated by Koch Brothers, Koch Industries generated $110 billion in revenue in the latest fiscal year. The Wichita, Kansas-based company was founded in 1940 by Fred Koch. Charles and David Koch each own 42% of the company while the remaining 16% is owned by trusts for the benefit of Elaine Tettemer Marshall. Koch Industries operates in a number of sectors including consumer products, refining, fertilizers, chemicals & biofuels, electronics, and commodity trading. It has more than 120,000 employees.
1- Cargill, Inc
Cargill is the largest private company in the United States with $114.7 billion revenue and 155,000 employees, according to Forbes. The agribusiness juggernaut has topped Forbes’ annual list of America’s largest private companies for 28 of the last 30 years. Founded in 1865, Cargill is involved in processing, trading, and export of agricultural products. It is owned by descendants of founder William Cargill and his son-in-law John MacMillan.