5 Largest Private Companies By Revenue: Will They Ever Go Public?

Zinger Key Points
  • Some of the largest companies in the U.S. are privately owned.
  • Of the five companies, two are grocery stores.

Some of the largest companies in the U.S., which employ hundreds of thousands of people and brought in billions in revenue in 2021, are private.

For example, Publix Super Markets is an employee-owned supermarket chain that employs 230,000 people across seven Southern states and reported revenues of $48 billion in 2021, according to Forbes.

The company has an employee stock ownership program that provides shares of its privately held stock to its employees. It does not plan to go public.

Let's learn more about Publix and four other companies on this list of the five largest private companies by revenue.


1. Cargill Minnesota - $134.4 billion

Cargill is a critical player in the livestock, processed food and agricultural markets, controlling more than 25% of the U.S. grain exports and 22% of the U.S meat supply.

While Cargill has been pressed to go public multiple times, it created an employee equity program in 1993 and spun off 64% of its stake in Mosaic Co MOS in 2004, giving investors a means to invest in the company. It has no plans to go public at this time.

2. Koch Industries - $115 Billion

The Koch umbrella comprises of companies operating in various markets, including paper manufacturing, mineral processing, fertilizer production and oil refining.

CEO Charles Koch said in a Bloomberg interview in 2021 the company would never go public.

3. Publix Super Markets - $44.9 Billion

After a 5-1 private stock split in 2021, the company said it does not plan to go public.

The employee-owned company provides a host of benefits to its employees, including company-matched 401(k) contributions, cash bonuses, stock plans and tuition reimbursement.

4. Mars - $40 Billion

The candy giant known for making Snickers, M&M’s, Skittles and more is committed to staying private, Chairman Stephen Badger said in an interview in 2018. 

"Being private does give us a competitive advantage in that we know who our shareholders are. We could fit them all in quite a small room if we had to," Badger said. "And so, the ability of management to interface with the shareholders is straightforward. It's very tangible. It's very immediate. And, I think it does give us the capacity to make decisions quickly."


5. H-E-B Texas Food Markets - $32.8 Billion

The San Antonio, Texas-based company operated 420 supermarkets across Texas and northeast Mexico.

HEB's family owners handed roughly 15% of their stake to employees over the age of 21 who had worked 1,000 hours the previous year in 2015. The corporation has no intention of going public.

Photo: ideldesign via Shutterstock

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