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Who Owns What? Today’s Major Conglomerates and Subsidiaries

The business news section of any newspaper or website is constantly changing. There is always news of “Company A” being bought out by “Company B,” or “Company C” merging with “Company D”…it’s enough to make anyone confused. Who owns what anymore?

To help you clear up some of the madness, I’ve looked at one major “everything” conglomerate, two major companies in the food industry, and three companies in the media industry to try to sort things out. It’s amazing to see that your favorite brand is actually owned by a company that you never would’ve thought. Let’s take a look!

Proctor & Gamble

Before researching this blog, I knew I used a few P&G brands at home, but I was amazed once I really looked at their brand’s breadth. I won’t list them all here, but to give you a general idea of all that they produce, here you go:

  • Beauty & Grooming: Clariol Professional, CoverGirl makeup, Crest, Gillette, Gucci Fragrances, Natural Instincts, Nice ‘n Easy, Olay, Old Spice, Oral-B, Pantene, Scope, Secret, and Venus.
  • Household Care: Bounce dryer sheets, Bounty paper towels, Cascade, Charmin, Cheer laundry detergent, Dawn, Downy, Deft laundry detergent, Duracell batteries, Era laundry detergent, Eukanuba pet food, Febreze, Gain laundry detergent, Iams pet food, Luvs diapers, Pampers diapers, Mr. Clean, Pringles, Puffs facial tissues, Swiffer, and Tide laundry detergent (yes you counted right, they own 5 laundry detergent brands).

We’re not finished yet! Let’s see what companies own your favorite beverages and snacks…

PepsiCo

Who really can eat just one?!

This company grew quickly due to a 1965 merger of the Pepsi-Cola Company and Frito-Lay, which combined the food and beverage companies to be one super power. 19 of PepsiCo’s brands were generating retail sales of more than $1 billion, as of 2009, and the company was distributing to more than 200 countries worldwide. This single company produces:

  • Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, Ocean Spray juices, Amp Energy drinks, SOBE Lifewater, Aquafina, Propel
  • Frito Lay products
  • Tropicana
  • Quaker Oat products
  • Gatorade

Mars, Incorporated

"One for you, two for me. Perfect!"

Yep, the candy bar company…or so I thought. This single company had $30 billion in sales in 2010 — that’s a lot of M&Ms! However, they produce much more than just candy:

  • Pet Food: Cesar, Pedigree, Whiskas
  • Treats: 3 Musketeers, Combos, Dove, Kudos, M&Ms, Milky Way, Snickers, Twix
  • Wrigley products: Altoids, Big Red gum, Doublemint gum, Eclipse gum, Lifesavers, Orbit gum, Skittles, Starburst, Winterfresh gum
  • Food: Uncle Ben’s brand

Now for the media conglomerates of the world…

Tribune Company

Even if you don’t receive the Chicago Tribune every morning, chances are you’ve seen (or heard) some of their other offerings:

  • National Cable: WGN America
  • Television Stations: too numerous to count (check them out here)
  • Radio: WGN-AM Chicago
  • Newspapers: The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Red Eye
  • Classified Advertising: CareerBuilder.com, Apartments.com, CARS.com, ForSaleByOwner.com
  • Entertainment: MetroMix.com

News Corp

Dibs on the Business Section!

Whether or not you’re a Rupert Murdoch fan, you’ve probably still watched something that he owns. Everything from 20th Century Fox to The Wall Street Journal is under this single company:

  • Cable Networks: Big Ten Network, anything with ‘Fox’ in the title, FX, National Geographic Channel
  • Film: 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox Television Studios
  • Television: Fox Broadcasting Company
  • Publishing: Harper Collins, The Wall Street Journal, New York Post
  • Other assets: Hulu.com, IGN Entertainment

NBC Universal

If you’ve been watching 30 Rock from the first season, then chances are you’ve seen a hilarious tongue-in-cheek run down of this company. From the days when General Electric (yep, GE) was a majority owner to now with Comcast being the majority (Comcast now owns 51% of NBC Universal while GE owns 49%). Which outlets do they actually work in?

  • Cable Networks: A&E Television Networks, Bravo Media, CNBC, CNBC World, E!, G4, Golf Channel, MSNBC, Oxygen Media, Style Network, Syfy, The Weather Channel Companies, USA Network, VERSUS
  • Broadcast: NBC Entertainment, NBC News, Telemundo
  • Other assets: DailyCandy.com, Fandango, Hulu.com (a joint venture with Fox), iVillage, Universal Parks & Resorts
  • Film: Focus Features, Universal Pictures

I just barely scratched the surface on who owns what. With the constant 24/7 news, I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before another conglomerate is made!

Were there any that surprised you? Is there another company you’re curious to see what brands or services they also own? Sound off below!



Amy Swanson

Amy is one of Quality Logo Products’ content developers and social media coordinators. She is a self-professed newspaper nerd and thoroughly enjoys reading business and financial news and having impromptu discussions about it. Oh yeah, she’s “one of those” people! A true Midwestern girl by nature, she loves riding her bike, photography, and the Chicago Cubs. You can also connect with Amy on

Comments

  1. Jen

    Amy, this is a great run down of who owns what, but I notice you forgot to mention that NBC owns the Sheinhardt Wig company too. Lol ;)

    Nice post Amy!

  2. Mandy Kilinskis

    I had no idea that Proctor & Gamble owned so much. I mean, five laundry detergents? That’s crazy! I was also totally unaware that Mars owned pet food brands.

    And as I said in the office – how is it possible that USA can have these amazing TV shows that get renewed year after year, and yet NBC can’t even hold on to Community? Sigh. NBC, you need to get your act together.

    • JPorretto

      Those damn cable channels just don’t need to attract the same ratings as the networks. If USA had Community, it’d probably be their #1 show! Just like how NBC cut “Southland” only to be picked up by TNT a few years ago and is still on I believe.

    • Amy Swanson

      Nestle also owns Purina pet food. Not sure what the deal with non pet food companies owning them, but I guess it’s cheap to make and easy to get a big return from.

      I completely agree with NBC needing to get their act together. C’mon don’t be like Fox!!

      • Alex Brodsky

        Another thing about many of the cable shows is how much more they’re able to do on such a small budget. A few big names aside (Mad Men, The Walking Dead), most of these cable shows (especially USA) have budgets less than half those of a network program.

  3. JPorretto

    This pretty much blows my mind. So what you’re saying is so many “competitors” (see detergents) are owned by the same conglomerate? So they’re not really blood thirsty and trying to oust each other, rather they’re just like siblings fighting for Mommy and Daddy’s attention? I do not understand this dynamic at all…

    I reiterate, Mind = Blown.

    • Amanda

      LOL Jeff. I was thinking the same thing! It’s crazy to see who owns what! Great post Amy!! =)

      • Amy Swanson

        Thanks guys :) It was a fascinating blog to research, a few brands I knew were owned by these companies but others completely floored me. What’s up with P&G owning all these laundry detergents and then Pringles? Is there a big market of people buying Tide and Pringles together, so they decided to get a piece of the action and buy one of the brands?? That’s one dynamic I don’t understand at all.

  4. Jill Tooley

    Wow, fascinating blog! I knew about some of these (like PepsiCo’s vast selection of companies) but I had no idea how much P&G actually had their hands in until now. I think the most surprising one is Mars — they own all of those candy bar and gum names in addition to Uncle Ben’s AND pet food brands? Crazy! This goes to show that you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket, I suppose.

    Thanks for all the info. This is great stuff! :)

    • amy

      Thanks for reading, Jill :) I had no idea how much Mars owned either, I thought they had just the candy corner but guess I was wrong.

  5. Rachel

    I’ve always found it fascinating how many industries these huge companies have their hands in–even to the point where the subsidiaries are competitors of each other, like the laundry detergent example. Really cool to see a breakdown like this. Thanks, Amy! :)

    • amy

      Yay! I’m not the only business nerd who finds information on current conglomerates and subsidiaries interesting!! I guess as long as the money is pouring into P&G’s pockets they must not care which brand consumers buy. I agree with you on its level of fascination!

  6. Jenna Markowski

    Really interesting post, Amy! I just learned that Procter & Gamble also owns Pepto Bismol…so there’s that. Laundry detergent, toothpaste, and yucky pink medicine. NAILED IT. Maybe Pepto Bismol is made out of an intricate mixture of laundry detergent and toothpaste, and that’s why it tastes so horrible? Probably.

    Another industry that’s interesting to look at is the recording industry. Most record labels that claim to be more “independent” are in fact owned by one of the major record labels like Sony, Warner, or Universal.

    • amy

      The few times I’ve ever consumed Pepto Bismol I would 100% agree with you and its, “intricate mixture of laundry detergent and toothpaste”. That’s pretty much what it tastes like to me too. Yuck!

      I had no idea about the recording industry. I always assumed that if a label was “independent” that meant they weren’t owned by another company. Huh, very interesting indeed.

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