In the business world, there are a lot of mergers, partnerships, and companies buying out other companies. It can be hard to keep track of the big sharks and the smaller fish in the pond. Even more, it might seem like some brands are their own entities, when really they are owned by a bigger, farther-reaching corporation.
Before we dive deep into our top 10 list of conglomerates in the United States, it’s important to have your professional ducks in a row when it comes to this jargon.
Conglomerate: (noun) a corporation consisting of a number of companies or divisions in a variety of unrelated industries, usually as a result of a merger or acquisition.
Subsidiary: (noun) a company whose controlling interest is owned by another company
Now that you’re well-versed in the lingo. Let’s take a look at the major power players dominating our economy. These are the ten most influential conglomerates in existence today.
PROCTER & GAMBLE
Your house is clean thanks to the magic of Procter & Gamble.
The company has been building its brand for well over a century, with no plans of slowing down. Go down any aisle at your local grocery or drug store and you’ll find any number of their products including paper towels, hair care lines, and laundry detergent. The multibillion dollar company has operations in over 180 countries and features 80 unique brands that are well-loved by consumers. Their cleaning products our in the kitchen and bathroom cabinet of almost every home around the world.
Notable Procter & Gamble Subsidiaries:
- Head & Shoulders
Do you have the munchies? Just turn to PepsiCo to satisfy your cravings.
This enormous company has a variety of popular beverages and snacks. According to Statista, 7.03 million Americans consumed 8 or more bags of Cheetos in 2017 alone. Still, that’s not even taking into account all of their other popular brands including: Gatorade, Doritos, and Tropicana to name a few. From sports games and concession stands to tailgates and company parties, we are able to stay nice and fed thanks to PepsiCo.’s delicious products.
Notable PepsiCo. Subsidiaries:
- Mountain Dew
- 7 Up
- Lipton Teas
- Quaker Foods
- Starbucks (ready to drink)
By and large, chocolate deserves to be its own food group. This is an idea that Mars, Inc would proudly stand behind.
In fact, they’ve been satisfying America’s sweet tooth since 1911. Today, the company has hundreds of candies from fruity favorites like Starbursts and Skittles to chocolatey confections like Milky Way and Twix. Not to mention, they also have popular lines of pet foods, chewing gums, and mints. By far one of their most popular candies is M&Ms, which come in a variety of colors, tastes, and can even be customized with personal messages as gifts!
Notable Mars, Inc. Subsidiaries:
- 3 Musketeers
- Milky Way
- Uncle Ben’s
- Double Mint
- Juicy Fruit
Next time you go into the office supply closet, take a minute to appreciate 3M for keeping you organized.
The company came onto the scene at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, more than 60,000 of 3M’s products are used in homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, and other industries. Their products have a far reach in the professional world as they also have a line of projection screens and coolant liquids for electronics.
Notable 3M Subsidiaries:
- Magic tape
THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY
Not to mention, the multimedia group also owns Marvel, a boundary pushing studio that is raking in major box office sales from their superhero films. In fact, Marvel’s The Avengers is among the five highest grossing movies of all time! With The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Black Panther, Iron Man 3, and Captain America Civil War making it onto the top 20 list. These films alone generate a lot of revenue for the company, but as we know, Disneyland and Disney World are popular tourist attractions that get millions of visitors every year.
Notable Walt Disney Subsidiaries:
- ABC Television Group
- ESPN, Inc.
- Disney World
- Disney Channel
- Lucas Films
After work all you want to do is curl up in front of the TV and most of us turn to Comcast for our entertainment.
In fact, the cable company has an estimated 27.7 million customers and is continuing to grow. Not only are they connected in many households, they also have the rights to Universal Studios theme parks in Florida as well as DreamWorks, the company behind hit animated features like Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon.
Notable Comcast Subsidiaries:
- Universal Parks
- NBC Universal
- Movies 24
- NHL TV
JOHNSON & JOHNSON
If you’ve ever hosted a baby shower, you know how pervasive Johnson & Johnson products are to the event.
Of course, this $360 billion company isn’t only about bundles of joy. They keep us healthy during flu season with their various medications and even cover the worst scrapes and cuts with classic Band-Aids. They must know we’re all big babies at heart! Incredibly, this has been the case for well over a century. Johnson & Johnson opened its doors in New Jersey in 1886.
Notable Johnson & Johnson Subsidiaries:
- Clean & Clear
We simply can’t deny the crazy influence Time Warner has in the television kingdom.
HBO’s Game of Thrones alone pulls record numbers, with 16 million people watching last season! While the network may be the star vehicle at Time Warner, they are also behind many other successful channels like Warner Bros. and TBS, which house wonderful programs like Little Big Shots and Conan O’ Brien. Plus, Time Warner creates popular publications like Time Magazine, People, and Entertainment Weekly.
Notable Time Warner Subsidiaries:
- Entertainment Weekly
- Time Magazine
- Warner Bros.
- CNN News Group
Children and kids at heart can’t get enough of Hasbro products.
Family game nights are a little more special thanks to essentials like Monopoly, Twister, and Scattergories. Plus, the Easy-Bake Oven and Mr. Potato Head have always been at the top of every wish list! It’s no wonder this company sold well over $5 billion during the holidays last year. You will see Hasbro’s line of toys on the shelves of any popular retailer including: Target, Wal-Mart, and Meijer to name a few. Even more, they are staple items in toy stores across the country!
Notable Hasbro Subsidiaries:
- Bop It!
- Candy Land
- G.I. Joe
- My Little Pony
- Potato Head
Whether you love hip hop or country, comedy or cartoons, Viacom is a leading force for your entertainment.
The multinational media company is behind many shows enjoyed by adults and children such as: Real World, Behind the Music, SpongeBob Squarepants, The Jim Gaffigan Show, South Park, and Being Mary Jane. They pride themselves on offering diversity in their programs, which collectively have earned hundreds of Emmy Awards.
Notable Viacom Subsidiaries:
- Comedy Central
- Nick @ Nite
- Nick Jr.
- TV Land
- Teen Nick
For Your Entertainment
Our entertainment, food, healthcare products, office supplies, and other essentials are in the hands of these mighty conglomerates. From going to the gas station for snacks to heading to the movie theater for a popcorn blockbuster, you encounter these brands almost every day. Take the time to understand the totem pole of corporate power!
Statista (2018). U.S. Population: How Many Bags of Cheetos Have You Eaten in the Last 30 Days? Retrieved May 2, 2018, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/288732/bags-of-cheetos-corn-tortilla-chips-eaten-in-the-us/
Statista (2018). Procter & Gamble’s Net Sales Worldwide from 2012 to 2017 (in billion U.S. dollars). Retrieved May 2, 2018, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/238751/net-sales-of-procter-und-gamble-p-und-g-since-2005/
Brodkin, J. (2016, February 03). Comcast Shrugs Off Years of Cord-Cutting Losses, Adds 89K TV Customers. Retrieved May 2, 2018, from https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/02/comcast-shrugs-off-years-of-cord-cutting-losses-adds-89k-tv-customers/
Celebrity Net Worth (2018). Johnson & Johnson’s Net Worth. Retrieved May 2, 2018, from https://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-businessmen/companies/johnson-johnson-net-worth/
Gartenberg, C. (2017, July 17). 16 Million People Watched Game of Thrones Last Night, Making it the Show’s Most Watched Episode. Retrieved May 2, 2018, from https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/17/15985878/game-of-thrones-premiere-record-number-viewers-live-hbo-streaming
Kell, J. (2017, February 06). Hasbro’s Close Ties to Disney Helps Sales Hit a Record. Retrieved May 2, 2018.