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10 Largest Private Companies in The United States of 2023 - Photo: KnowInsiders

What is a Private Company in the U.S?

One definition of "private company" is an organization where the owners keep their names off the books. Although private companies may have stockholders and issue stock, the shares of these companies do not trade on public exchanges and are not distributed through an IPO (IPO).

Therefore, private companies do not have to comply with the stringent filing requirements for public companies set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Shares in these companies tend to be less liquid, and their valuations are trickier to pin down, than those of more established ones.

How a Private Company Works in the U.S

The term "privately held company" is sometimes used to describe private businesses. For shareholders, members, and tax purposes, sole proprietorships, LLCs, S-corporations, and C-corporations are all distinct from one another as private business structures.

Privately held corporations are the foundation of the American business landscape. The term "private company" is used to describe organizations that are not publicly traded and can range in size and scope from the millions of small businesses in the United States to the dozens of global unicorn startups. Even multibillion dollar American corporations like Cargill, Koch Industries, Deloitte, and PricewaterhouseCoopers are classified as private companies.

Forbes has released a ranking of the world's largest private companies, and Koch Industries and Cargill top the list with projected 2019 revenues of around $115 billion each. Deloitte and Pricewaterhouse Coopers, both providers of business services, lag somewhat behind with $47.6 billion and $43 billion in revenue, respectively. That makes them about the same size as IKEA, the largest private company based outside the United States, according to Investopedia.

Koch Industries and Cargill, on the other hand, would not even crack the top 60 of the world's largest publicly traded companies. Sixty-five percent of the 200 or so companies on Forbes' list of the largest private companies in the United States have been there for at least ten years, proving the list's stability.

Top 10 Biggest Private Companies in the United States of 2023

♦ Pilot Company has jumped from 7 place to 5 place according to the Top 10 Largest Private Companies in America Ranking 2023.

♦ H-E-B has fallen from 5th place to 6th in the Top 10 Largest Private Companies in the US in 2023.

♦ Fidelity Investments has fallen from 10th place to 12th.

1. Cargill

Annual Revenue: $165 Billion

Headquarters: Wayzata, Minnesota, United States

CEO: David W. MacLennan (Dec 1, 2013–)

Owner: Cargill family

Founder: William Wallace Cargill

Founded: 1865, Conover, Iowa, United States

Photo: Alpaca Expo Group
Photo: Alpaca Expo Group

Forbes reports that Cargill is the largest privately held company in the United States, with $114.7 billion in revenue and 155,000 employees. The agribusiness behemoth has topped the annual list of the largest private companies in the United States published by Forbes for 28 of the past 30 years.

Cargill, which was founded in 1865, processes, trades, and exports agricultural products. It is owned by the descendants of William Cargill, the company's founder, and John MacMillan, his son-in-law.

Cargill is a global leader in the production and distribution of food, agricultural, financial, and industrial products, in addition to being a provider of risk management and supply chain services. The company has expanded to more than 70 countries.

2. Koch Industries

Annual Revenue: $115 Billion

CEO: Charles Koch (1967–)

Headquarters: Wichita, Kansas, United States

Founder: Fred C. Koch

Founded: February 8, 1940

Number of employees: 100,000 (2019)

Photo: USA Today
Photo: USA Today

Owned and operated by Koch Brothers, Koch Industries generated $110 billion in revenue in the latest fiscal year making. The Wichita, Kansas-based company was founded in 1940 by Fred Koch.

Charles and David Koch each own 42% of the company while trusts own the remaining 16% for the benefit of Elaine Tettemer Marshall. Koch Industries operates in several sectors, including consumer products, refining, fertilizers, chemicals & biofuels, electronics, and commodity trading. It has more than 120,000 employees.

3. Publix Super Markets

Annual Revenue: $48 Billion

Headquarters: Lakeland, Florida, United States

Number of locations: 1,286

Founder: George W. Jenkins

Founded: September 6, 1930, Winter Haven, Florida, United States

CEO: Todd Jones (Apr 30, 2016–)

Photo: Publix
Publix Super Markets - Photo: Publix

Headquartered in Lakeland, Florida, Publix is one of the largest supermarket chains in the United States.

The company with 230,000 employees (2023) in over six states is estimated to have annual revenue of $34.6 billion. George Jenkins founded Publix in 1930. Employees mostly own it. The company operates more than 1,200 grocery stores, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities.

With a commitment to customer service, quality products, and competitive prices, Publix Super Markets has become a staple in the grocery business.

4. Mars, Inc.

Annual Revenue: $45 Billion

Owner: Mars family

Headquarters: McLean, Virginia, United States

Founder: Franklin Clarence Mars

Founded: June 23, 1911, Tacoma, Washington, United States

CEO: Grant F. Reid (Jan 2, 2015–)

Photo: NS Packaging
Photo: NS Packaging

Mars, Inc. is a leading global food company widely recognized for its iconic candy brands such as M&M's, Snickers, and Twix. The company, founded by Frank C. Mars in 1911, has grown to become one of the largest privately held companies in the United States.

As of 2022, Mars, Inc. has over 140,000 employees and an estimated annual revenue of $45 billion.

The Mars family owns the business in its entirety.

5. Pilot Company

Annual Revenue: $41.9 Billion

Headquarters: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Founder: Jim Haslam

Founded: 1958, Weber City, Virginia, United States

Number of employees: 19,000

Photo: PR Newswire
Pilot Company - Photo: PR Newswire

Pilot Company was founded by James Haslam Jr. in 1958 in Weber City, Virginia when he purchased an existing gasoline station. By 1965, Pilot owned 12 stations and was selling 5 million gallons of fuel yearly. Pilot built its first convenience store in 1976 and converted the rest of its locations into convenience stores.

In 1981, Pilot built its first travel center and has focused on that aspect of its business ever since. 1988 saw Pilot begin its concentration on expanding its travel center network in a nationwide presence. Also in 1988, Pilot opened its first travel center with a fast food restaurant inside. On September 1, 2001, Pilot and Marathon Petroleum Company formed Pilot Travel Centers, LLC. On July 1, 2010, Pilot and Flying J's travel center chains merged to form Pilot Flying J. The two brands maintain their separate identities in the merged company.

On September 14, 2008, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum issued subpoenas to Pilot for investigation of price gouging in the days following Hurricane Ike.

6. H-E-B

Annual Revenue: $38.9 Billion

Founder: Florence Butt

Founded: November 26, 1905, Kerrville, Texas, United States

CEO: Charles Butt (1971–)

Headquarters: San Antonio, Texas, United States

Number of locations: 340 (2018)

Photo: Epicurious
H-E-B - Photo: Epicurious

H-E-B is one of the largest grocery stores in the United States, with over 400 locations in Texas and Mexico. The company, founded by Florence Butt in 1905, has grown to become a Texas icon. As of 2022, H-E-B has over 145,000 employees and an annual revenue of $38.9 billion.

H-E-B Grocery Company, LP is an American privately held supermarket chain based in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 340 stores throughout the U.S. state of Texas, as well as in northeast Mexico. The company also operates Central Market, an upscale organic and fine foods retailer. As of 2019, the company has a total revenue surpassing US$31.2 billion. H-E-B ranked No. 9 on Forbes' 2020 list of "America's Largest Private Companies".

H-E-B was named Retailer of the Year in 2010 by Progressive Grocer. Supermarket News ranks H-E-B 13th on the list of "Top 75 North American Food Retailers" by sales. Based on 2019 revenues, H-E-B is the 19th largest retailer in the United States. It donates 5% of pre-tax profits to charity. The official mascot of H-E-B is named H-E-Buddy, an anthropomorphic brown grocery bag, with multiple grocery items being shown coming out of the top.

7. Reyes Holdings

Annual Revenue: $35.3 Billion

Headquarters: Illinois, United States

Founder: J. Christopher Reyes

Founded: 1976

Revenue: 27.8 billion USD (2020)

Photo: The Shelby Report
Reyes Holdings - Photo: The Shelby Report

With operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, Reyes Holdings is a leading global food and beverage distributor.

The company's long history of success dates back to 1976, and it offers an extensive portfolio of independent brands. Forbes estimates that Reyes Holdings has over 33,000 employees and an annual revenue of over $35 billion.

Reyes Holdings ships nearly one billion cases of food and beverage products to retailers worldwide. It also has a division that supplies McDonald's with food and other items.

8. C&S Wholesale Grocers

Annual Revenue: $33 Billion

Headquarters: Keene, New Hampshire, United States

CEO: Rick Cohen (1989–)

Founded: 1918, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States

Number of locations: over 50 distribution centers in 16 states

Photo: Union Leader
C&S Wholesale Grocers - Photo: Union Leader

C&S Wholesale Grocers is a leading provider of wholesale groceries to supermarkets, independent grocers, and military bases throughout the United States.

The business was established in 1918 and has its headquarters in Keene, New Hampshire. C&S Wholesale Grocers is one of the most profitable privately held companies in the United States.

C&S Wholesale Grocers, with $27 billion in revenue and 16,200 employees, is the largest wholesale grocery distributor in the United States. It was established as a supplier to independent grocery stores in 1918. The Keene, a New Hampshire-based company, has established distribution centers nationwide. It provides over 140,000 products to over 14,000 supermarkets, chain stores, and institutions nationwide. Its sole owner, Richard Cohen, has a net worth of $11 billion.

9. Enterprise Holdings

Annual Revenue: $30 Billion

CEO: Chrissy Taylor (Jan 1, 2020–)

Headquarters: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Number of employees: 80,000 (2020)

Founder: Jack C. Taylor

Photo: Skift
Enterprise Holdings - Photo: Skift

Enterprise Holdings is among the largest and most successful car rental and car sharing companies in the United States. They have over 7,600 neighborhood and airport locations in over 85 countries and territories, making them one of the largest privately held car rental businesses in the United States.

Enterprise Holdings, Inc. is a private American holding company headquartered in Clayton, Missouri, in the Greater St. Louis area. It operates several other transportation services, including commercial fleet management, used car sales (through its Enterprise Car Sales dealers), carsharing, and commercial truck rental operations. It is the parent company of car rental agencies Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, and Alamo Rent-a-Car.

Jack C. Taylor founded Enterprise Rent-A-Car in St. Louis, Missouri in 1957, and the company is still headquartered there and still managed by the Taylor family. Taylor renamed the company Executive Leasing Company to Enterprise in 1969, after the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise on which he served during World War II.

The holding company was established on August 3, 2009, following Enterprise's 2007 acquisition of Vanguard Automotive Group, the former parent company of National and Alamo. The resulting company ranked twenty-first on Forbes' 2008 list of "America's Largest Private Companies."

It is one of the three largest car rental holding companies in the United States, with a 33.2% market share, ranking it second to Hertz Corporation and first to Avis Budget Group.

10.Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores

Annual Revenue: $25.5 Billion

Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores is a leading chain of travel stops and convenience stores in the United States. Established in 1964, Love's has grown to operate over 600 locations in 42 states, providing customers with a wide variety of convenience services and amenities.

From fueling services and truck maintenance to convenience stores, Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores offers travelers a one-stop shopping experience.

Top 20 10 Largest Private Companies 2023 in The United States

11. Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits

Annual Revenue: $25 Billion

Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits operates in 44 states and is one of the largest wine and spirits distributors in the world. The company has been in operation since 1968 and is dedicated to providing superior customer service by providing a wide variety of products, programs, and services to meet its customers' needs.

Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits generated an annual revenue of $25 billion in 2022, according to Forbes.

12. Fidelity Investments

Annual Revenue: $24 Billion

CEO: Abigail Johnson (Oct 13, 2014–)

Assets under management: 4.2 trillion USD (June 2021)

Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Founder: Edward C. Johnson II

Photo: Wealth Management
Photo: Wealth Management

Fidelity Investments is one of the largest and most prestigious financial services firms in the world. It offers numerous products, including mutual funds and ETFs, retirement planning, estate planning, and annuities. Fidelity Investments was founded in 1946 and has since grown to manage trillions of dollars in assets for more than 40 million individuals, families, and institutions worldwide. Fidelity Investments is one of America's largest privately-held businesses.

13. Cox Enterprises

Annual Revenue: $20.9 Billion

James M. Cox founded Cox Enterprises as a private global conglomerate in 1898. The company is most well-known for its media, automotive, and communications businesses, which have expanded to include a number of subsidiaries operating in various industries. Forbes estimates that Cox Enterprises generated annual revenue of $20.9 billion in 2022.

14. Meijer Annual

Revenue: $20.48 Billion

Hendrik Meijer founded the Meijer chain of large American supermarkets in 1934. The company operates over 240 supercenters in the United States and employs over 70,000 individuals. Meijer is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States as of 2022, with annual revenue exceeding $20.4 billion.

15. Medline Industries

Annual Revenue: $20.2 Billion

Medline Industries is an Illinois-based privately held healthcare company headquartered in Northfield. It is one of the United States' largest privately held manufacturers and distributors of medical supplies. The company was founded in 1966 and has since become an industry leader in medical supplies. Forbes estimates that the company's annual revenue was $20.2 billion in 2022.

16. Gordon Food Service

Annual Revenue: $19 Billion

Gordon Food Service is a Michigan-based American foodservice distributor with headquarters in Grand Rapids. The company, founded in 1897, operates over 40 distribution centers across the United States and employs over 20,000 people. Gordon Food Service is the largest privately held foodservice distributor in the United States and one of the largest foodservice distributors in North America.

17. JM Family Enterprises

Annual Revenue: $18.84 Billion

JM Family Enterprises is an automotive conglomerate headquartered in Deerfield, Florida. The company, founded by Jim Moran in 1969, is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States in terms of revenue. Forbes estimates that JM Family Enterprises will generate an annual revenue of $18.84 billion in 2022.

18. Tenaska

Annual Revenue: $18.4 Billion

The energy company Tenaska has its headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. Tenaska, founded in 1987, is one of the United States' largest independent power producers. The company constructs, owns, operates, and markets electric power generation facilities in North America.

19. Tenneco

Annual Revenue: $18.04 Billion

Tenneco is an American corporation that manufactures and distributes automotive technologies and components. The company was established in 1940 and has its main office in Lake Forest, Illinois. The company has operations in over 25 countries and employs approximately 78,000 people. Tenneco is one of the largest privately held corporations in the United States.

20. Bechtel

Annual Revenue: $17.5 Billion

Bechtel is an American construction, engineering, and project management firm. It has its headquarters in Reston, Virginia, and is one of the largest private companies in the United States. The company has more than 50,000 employees in over 50 countries. The estimated annual revenue for Bechtel is $17.5 billion.

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