The American Companies That Aren't Actually American Anymore
Several American companies have expanded into countries all around the world over the years, such as Apple and Telsa. These companies were founded in America but have become some of the world's largest companies, but sadly some of these companies don't always stay in American ownership. There are now several American companies that are not actually American anymore, such as Burger King and Snapchat, that are now owned by investors overseas.
Some of these American companies wouldn't be around if it weren't for foreign investors purchasing these companies. Hence, it isn't always bad for an American company to be bought out by foreigners. So if you are interested in finding out what American companies aren't actually American anymore, check out this article!
Budweiser, which is America's favorite beer, is not owned by Americans anymore but was purchased back in 2008 by AB InBev. Anheuser-Busch agreed to be bought from AB InBev for around $52 billion, making it the world's largest brewer. Budweiser was first introduced in 1876 by Carl Conrad & Co. and was inspired by a German pale lager beer.
The Busch family was the owner of Anheuser-Busch for several years but ended up losing the company as they allowed too many investors to invest in the beer company. Although Budweiser changed ownership in 2008, it is still the most popular beer in America and around the world.
Ben & Jerry's
Ben & Jerry's was founded by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 1978 as they opened their first ice cream parlor together. Since then, Ben & Jerry's has become one of the most popular ice cream brands in America and has been mentioned several times in pop culture and on different television shows.
Sadly, this American ice cream brand is not owned by Americans anymore but was bought out by Unilever, a London-based company, in 2000. Unilever purchased Ben & Jerry's for $326 million and was the highest bidder out of other companies. Since then, Unilever has helped boost sales and looks to hold on to Ben & Jerry's as long as possible.
Burger King has been around since 1954 and was founded by James McLamore and David Egerton. The first fast-food restaurant was opened in Miami, Florida, and became an instant hit among the locals. Once Burger King's name was out there, it started spreading around the nation and later on, around the world.
Burger King has been sold several times to different companies, and as of 2020, it is now in the ownership of Restaurant Brands International, which is based in Canada. There are now Burger Kings in over 100 different countries, and it has become more popular overseas than in the States.
Sunglass Hut was founded by Sanford Ziff, who opened the first store in Miami, Florida, in 1971. Ziff was an optometrist that wanted to make fashionable prescription glasses and sunglasses that were not seen at the time. In 1991, Ziff decided to sell the company to Luxottica Group for a staggering $653 million.
Luxottica is an Italian company that has become a monopoly in recent years as it owns everything it can get its hands on. There are now over 2,000 Sunglass Hut storefronts worldwide, with many still present in the United States. This is one company that will last a long time.
Trader Joe's is one of California's most popular grocery stores and has been around since 1967. Joe Coulombe, the founder of Trader Joe's, wanted to create a supermarket that specialized in stocking rare and healthier foods. Trader Joe's became a success as customers saw the quality of their products and trusted the company more than other supermarkets.
Coulombe decided to sell the company in 1979 to Theo Albrecht, a German businessman who owns Aldi. Although Germans own the company, this is still one of the most popular supermarkets in California, and no one seemed to even notice the transition.
American Apparel was founded in 1989 and became one of the most trending clothing stores in America as the name was an advertisement of itself. American Apparel was known for being made in the United States, but after the company had a rough year in 2015, it was bought out by a Canadian company, Gildan Activewear, in 2017 for $88 million.
American Apparel has made a comeback after Gildan Activewear bought the company, but the only difference now is that Canadians own them. There have been several companies that have been in the same boat as American Apparel.
7-Eleven was founded by Jefferson Green, an ordinary shop owner who started expanding his business in Dallas, Texas, in 1927. Green began to offer products that other general goods stores didn't, such as milk, eggs, and bread. Green decided to change the business's name from Southland Ice to 7-Eleven, which was the store's operating hours.
Once 7-Eleven started getting popular in Texas, several locations were opened across the country, becoming one of the most popular stores in America. Green sold the company in 1987 after the financial crash to the Japanese company, Ito-Yokado. This led to several 7-Eleven stores being opened in Japan and worldwide.
In 1922, the famous American ice cream brand Popsicle was invented by 11-year-old Francis Epperson by accident as he forgot one of his drinks outside that had a stick in it. The following day Epperson checked the cup and observed that it was frozen, which led to the first Popsicle being invented.
Once Epperson became an adult, he perfected a recipe and released it to the world. Epperson ended up selling the company in 1925 to another American company and was later purchased by Unilever in 1989, which is a British-owned company that also bought Ben & Jerry's.
Hellmann's mayonnaise is a food condiment that is in almost every American's pantry and has been ever since it was invented by Richard-Hellmann, who came up with the recipe in 1905. Hellmann was German-born and decided to mix a French and a German-tasting mayonnaise together that has become the most popular in America.
Hellmann ended up selling the company to Best Foods in 1932, who owned the company for around 70 years. It wasn't until 2000 that the company was bought by Unilever, which purchased it for $20.3 billion. Unilever has capitalized on many American food companies and owns a good portion of the market.
Dirt Devil is an American company that has been around since 1905 and has kept households clean for years. Philip Geier founded the company and opened the first store in Cleveland, Ohio. Dirt Devil was known for its cyclone system that separated it from other vacuum cleaners, and because of that, it sold millions of units over the years.
The company was around for almost 100 years before it was sold to the Chinese company Techtronic Industries which purchased the company for an undisclosed amount of money. Dirt Devil is still making new vacuums every year, but the quality isn't the same.
Smithfield has been around since 1936 and has been supplying Americans with different pork-based products for several years. The company was founded by Joseph W. Luter who wanted to create a business that supplied people with high-quality pork. Over the years Smithfield became one of the biggest companies in the farming industry as they now have over 500 farms.
Surprisingly, Smithfield was bought by the Chinese company WH Group for $4.72 billion in 2013. This was the biggest purchase made by a Chinese company at the time and surprised most American businessmen. Smithfield is still one of the biggest in the industry, and they aren't stopping anytime soon.
The Ironman competition was first created in 1978 and was a part of the Hawaiian Triathlon Corporation up until 1990 when it was purchased by Dr. James P. Gills for $3 million. It was again sold to Providence Equity Securities for $85 million in 2008. The company was then sold again to a Chinese company by the name of Dalian Wanda Group for a whopping $650 million in 2015.
The Chinese company ended up taking on debt after the purchase, but it knew that the company would eventually grow, which it did, as it gained over 40 percent of its net worth every year.
Forbes was first founded in 1917 by the Forbes family. Since then, it has become one of the most trusted news sources in America and is known for its ranking of celebrities and influential figures. The American company has been around for over 100 years and is still one of the most popular magazines.
The Chinese-owned company, Integrated Whale Media, bought Forbes in 2014 for a whopping $400 million. Most of the readers of Forbes probably didn't notice much as the magazine is still written in America, but they might not know that the once-American company is now under Chinese ownership.
General Motors has always been known as one of the largest car manufacturers in America, as they have been around since 1908. General Motors was one of the leading automobile manufacturers during the early 1900s but ended up exploding during World War II like many other American companies.
General Motors supplied the military with a vast number of vehicles and proved to be a reliable company. In 1998, General Motors decided to join a partnership with the Chinese company Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Although a Chinese company doesn't own General Motors, they still depend on them heavily, which makes them not fully American-owned.
General Electric is another American company that has found itself in the hands of a Chinese company. General Electric was founded in 1892 and has become one of the biggest manufacturers in America. General Electric dipped its hands in different sectors such as aviation, household items, and even healthcare.
There are several Americans that think that General Electric is still owned by Americans, but they recently sold their appliances portion of the company to Chinese corporation Haier for $5.4 billion in 2016. So all the appliances you have recently received are not made in America but in China.
When it comes to American ice cream companies, Unilever is always there to buy them out. Good Humor was founded during the 1920s in Youngstown, Ohio, and became popular because of the Good Humor bar, which was a chocolate-coated ice cream bar. The ice cream company became even more popular when its ice cream trucks started popping up around America.
Good Humor was sold to Thomas J. Lipton, who was part of Unilever, in 1961. The British-Dutch company has owned the company for several years and is committed to serving some of the best ice cream invented in America.
The first Holiday Inn was first built in 1952 and was just like any other motel at the time. It was located between Memphis and Nashville and was founded by Kemmons Wilson, who got the idea after traveling with his family. Wilson ended up partnering with Wallace Johnson to create more locations across the country.
Now, Holiday Inn is one of the most popular hotels, not only in America but worldwide. During the 1980s, English company Intercontinental Hotels Group decided to purchase the company for an undisclosed amount. If you have ever visited the United Kingdom, you would know that Holiday Inns are just as prevalent as they are in America.
Purina was founded in 1894 by William H. Danforth, who wanted to create healthy pet food. The American company became very popular over the years and survived several economic crises. Purina ended up striking a deal with Swiss-based company Nestle in 2001 as they were going through some financial troubles.
Nestle ended up acquiring Purina for a whopping $10.3 billion as they knew that this company would boost their portfolio tremendously. Purina is still just as popular as it was when it was American-owned, and not many Americans even noticed that it was bought out by a foreign company.
Firestone was founded by Harvey Firestone in 1900 and became one of the top leading tire and rubber companies in America. Harvey had a close friendship with Henry Ford and struck a deal with him to supply Ford with tires and rubber. This made Firestone one of the biggest automotive companies in America, and it still has a good reputation to this day.
Firestone stayed as an American company for over 88 years before Japanese-owned company Bridgestone Corporation bought it out in 1988. Although the company is not American-owned anymore, they still offer quality services. Firestone helped Bridgestone grow, and the two companies are still around today.
Gerber was first introduced to the world in 1927 by Daniel Frank Gerber. Gerber's wife made baby food for their newborn daughter, which led him to start his own line of baby food that he could sell to the public. Gerber created five different baby foods to sell and it was an instant hit among the public.
Gerber had been in American hands for over 70 years before it was sold to Switzerland-based company Nestle for $5.5 billion in 2007. This was just small money for Nestle as they knew that Gerber would be profitable in the long run.
Citgo was founded by Henry Latham Doherty in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in 1910. Citgo ended up becoming one of the top oil distributors in America and was even known for refining fuel as well. Everything was going well for Citgo until the 1980s came around.
Since Citgo was in a financial crisis, Venezuelan company Petroleos de Venezuela purchased 50 percent of the company in 1986. The headquarters of Citgo is still in Houston, Texas but heavily depends on its Venezuelan partners. There are still a number of Citgo gas stations in America, but the future is uncertain for this company.
Waldorf Astoria Hotel
The Waldorf Astoria Hotel was first opened in 1931 and is located in New York City. Everything about this hotel is luxurious, and you have to spend a good amount of money to stay here for a couple of nights. The hotel was originally managed by Hilton Worldwide but was sold to a Chinese-owned company by the name of Anbang Insurance Group of China for $1.95 billion.
It is quite surprising that this prestigious hotel is now owned by a Chinese corporation but much hasn't changed if you are trying to stay a night as prices are just as expensive.
Motorola was founded in 1928 and has been supplying Americans with electronics for years. Motorola is most known for its mobile phones, but before that technology was invented, it first focused on producing radios. Google ended up buying the company in 2012 for $12.5 billion as they wanted to start making their own smartphones.
The company survived throughout the years and remained in American ownership until it was purchased by the Chinese company Lenovo in 2014. Google lost around $10 billion as it sold Motorola for only $2.9 billion. Many people have questioned why they took a loss, but it seems it didn't affect Google.
When IBM was founded back in 1911, they were focusing on making some of the latest machines at the time since computers were not invented until some time after. IBM ended up making its first computer in 1981 and changed the way we interact with technology.
IBM was one of the top tech companies at one point in time and is still in operation today but is now owned by the Chinese company Lenovo. Lenovo acquired IBM for $1.75 billion in 2004 and has integrated a lot of its technology into Lenovo computers. IBM will always be known as the first to create a computer for the commoner.
Legendary Entertainment was founded in 2000 by Thomas Tull, who wanted to create his own film production company. The company worked closely with other entertainment companies, such as Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures. The company has produced movies such as Batman Begins, Inception, and Man of Steel.
Recently, the Chinese company Dalian Wanda purchased Legendary Entertainment in 2016 for a whopping $3.5 billion. The entertainment company is still producing movies in America but is now expanding into Chinese-made films. It doesn't look like Dalian Wanda will be tarnishing the name of Legendary Entertainment anytime soon.
Hoover has been making appliances for Americans since 1908 and is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to cleaning your home. Hoover was founded by Henry Hoover, who wanted to make quality products that would last. The company remained in American hands for quite a while before it was sold to Techtronic in 2006.
The Chinese company acquired Hoover for a healthy $7.7 billion and hasn't regretted it since as they now own a good portion of the market. The quality of Hoover appliances has decreased, but sales are still up as the products have gotten cheaper.
Frigidaire was first named the Guardian Frigerator Company when it was founded by Nathaniel Wales and Alfred Mellowes in 1918. The two business owners didn't have the money to manufacture refrigerators on a large scale and ended up getting help from William Durant, who was part of General Motors.
The company was then named Frigidaire and became one of the top manufacturers of refrigerators. The company was first purchased by the White Sewing Company in 1979, but it was then bought by Swedish company Electrolux in 1986 and has remained in their hands ever since. The company still produces refrigerators that are supplied worldwide.
Strategic Hotels & Resorts
Strategic Hotels & Resorts was founded in 1997 by Laurence Geller, who is known for being a real estate investor and philanthropist. The hotel company owns 18 luxurious hotels that are located in the United States and Germany. Bill Gates was once a company shareholder until it was sold off in 2016 to Anbang Insurance Group.
The Chinese company acquired Strategic Hotels & Resorts for $5.5 billion and had a little dispute with the United States government as the deal included land that was close to a US Navy base.
Alka-Seltzer was first invented in 1931 and still works just as well as it did back in the day. Alka-Seltzer was first sold by Dr. Miles Medicine Company and became an essential pain reliever that almost every American used. Alka-Seltzer stayed under American ownership for quite some time until Bayer eventually bought it in 1978.
Bayer is a German-based company that is known for buying up several different types of medicines and has been called out for trying to create a monopoly which they have denied. Sadly, most of the companies around are owned by monopolies, so who knows what will happen in the future.
The Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building was constructed in 1930 and has been an iconic building in New York City. The Chrysler Building is known for its Art Deco-styled architecture and has been featured in several movies over the years. Americans have always owned the amazing skyscraper until the Abu Dhabi Investment Council decided to purchase a majority of the ownership in 2008 for $800 million.
The Abu Dhabi Investment Council ended up selling the ownership to an Austrian company named SIGNA for $150 million. The Abu Dhabi Investment Council lost a lot of money and was glad to get it off their hands.
Spotify was first founded in 2006 and has become the top platform for streaming music. Spotify wasn't that popular when it first began, as music streaming services were not being used on a large scale. It wasn't until 2010 that Spotify started seeing an increase in users. Now, the company is worth millions and has become one of the leading platforms for streaming music.
Tencent Holdings and Spotify decided to sign a partnership as Spotify needed a way to enter the Chinese market. Tencent was more than happy to buy a portion of Spotify as it is the world's largest music streaming platform.
Snapchat was founded in 2011 by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, who wanted to create a new streaming app that was free to use. Snapchat ended up becoming one of the most popular apps to download on your phone and was valued at about $20 billion at one point in time.
Snapchat is still going strong, but it is not as popular anymore as Instagram and Facebook also have similar features. Tencent ended up purchasing 10 percent of the company just like it did with Spotify and has been enjoying the revenue every year. Tencent has become a Chinese monopoly and is buying every company it can.
Ingram Micro was founded in 1979 and was a small technology distributor before it became a multimillion-dollar company. The company is based in Irvine, California but was recently sold to a Chinese company by the name of Tianjin Tianhai Investment in 2016. Tianjin Tianhai Investment acquired Ingram Micro for a whopping $6 billion as they saw the potential of the company and how much money it would make them in the long run.
Ingram Micro only grew after it was purchased by Tianjin Tianhai Investment as it opened the market to foreign companies that needed a company such as Ingram Micro.
Universal Music Group
Everybody knows about the three major record label companies: Sony Music, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group. Universal Music Group was founded in 1934 and has been one of the world's top record companies, producing some of the best music. You may think of the company as American-owned, but this hasn't been the case for years.
Vivendi, which is a French company, has owned a majority of the company for years but recently struck a deal with Chinese company Tencent in 2020. Tencent ended up paying a whopping $33.4 billion just for 10 percent of the company.
WeWork was founded in 2008 by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey, who wanted to create a company that provided coworking spaces. The company was quite successful from the beginning, as WeWork helped several start-up tech companies. They are now one of the top leaders in the industry as they have helped several companies all over America.
Things were not always easy for WeWork as it was going through a financial crisis and needed a bailout. Luckily, Chinese-based company Legend Holdings Corp was there to bail them out, but that meant that the company's ownership wouldn't just be in American hands anymore.
Segway Inc. was founded in 1999 by Dean Kamen, who invented this two-wheeled personal transport. The Segway was launched in 2001 and wasn't exactly popular at first, but after a couple of years, it was hard not to see one of these things roaming around your city. Things were going great for Segway Inc. for a while, as everyone wanted to purchase one.
In 2015, Chinese-based company Ninebot offered to buy Segway Inc. for $80 million. Segway Inc. gladly accepted as it knew that Segways would become available worldwide, which ended up happening. Most of the production facilities were moved to China, but there are still some that remain in the US.
John Hancock Life Insurance
John Hancock Financial Opportunities Fund has been around since 1862 and has been helping Americans with life insurance for over 100 years. John Hancock also specialized in offering other products as well but mainly focused on life insurance. The company was proud to be American-owned until Canadian company Manulife Financial bought it out.
The Canadian company saw the potential in John Hancock and decided to keep its name so that it wouldn't lose as many customers. John Hancock's headquarters is located in Toronto and is helping both Americans and Canadians with their life insurance.
Riot Games was founded in 2006 by Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill, who created the video game studio in Santa Monica, California. The gaming company is best known for being the creator of League of Legends, which has become the most popular computer game in the world. The two founders never thought that their company would get so big.
Riot Games released League of Legends in 2009, instantly becoming a hit with everyone in the world. In 2015, Tencent, which was already a partner of Riot Games, purchased the company for $6 billion as they saw the potential in League of Legends.
Oakley Inc. was founded in 1975 by James Jannard, who started making sunglasses in his garage. People liked Jannard's sunglasses so much that he decided to get serious about creating a company. In 1980, Jannard released the O-Frame, which ended up being a hit and was the first of many that would make him a multimillionaire.
Although Oakley Inc. is based in Lake Forest, California, it is now owned by Luxottica, which is an Italian-based company. Oakley sunglasses are still some of the most popular in the world and have sold millions since their inception.
California Grapes International Inc.
California Grapes International Inc. was founded in 1992 and was the primary disruptor of wines and other grape products in California. Sadly, California Grapes International Inc. disappeared some time ago as China Food Services Corp. bought the company for an undisclosed amount. A lot of Californians were disappointed to find out that one of their biggest distributors is now owned by the Chinese.
China Food Services Corp. has capitalized on several American businesses that deal with food and are starting to become a monopoly. California Grapes International Inc. is still located in Henderson, Nevada but is funded by Chinese investors.
OmniVision Technologies Inc.
OmniVision Technologies Inc. was founded in 1995 and has provided digital imaging products for different devices that use cameras, such as medical imaging systems. The California-based company was in the hands of Americans for quite a while until it was eventually sold to Shanghai-based company Will Semiconductor Co. Ltd for a whopping $2.1 billion.
The deal between the two companies was done in secrecy and was announced a year after the deal was brokered. It is unclear why the deal wasn't made public at first, and some people are asking questions about what exactly went on during the deal.
Brookstone was founded in 1965 by Pierre de Beaumont, who opened the first store in Peterborough, New Hampshire. The company specialized in mail-ordering tools and parts that were needed around the house. It ended up becoming a hit for a while but ended up dying off when the internet came around. In 2014, Brookstone wasn't doing so well financially, so it ended up being bought out by Chinese company Sailing Capital and Sanpower.
The two Chinese companies acquired Brookstone for $173 million. The two companies decided to keep a number of the stores open, and there are still around 30 stores around in the United States.
Baby Trend Inc.
Baby Trend Inc. was founded in 1988 and has been supplying Americans with infant and toddler products since. The company was one of the leaders in the industry and was based out of Ontario, California. Baby Trend Inc. was going through some financial trouble in 2016, which led to the Alpha Group purchasing the company.
The Chinese company acquired Baby Trend Inc. for an undisclosed amount. Alpha Group ended up saving the company from going under, and now they are doing better than ever. Sometimes having a foreign investor buy an American company isn't always a bad thing.
Lucky Strike cigarettes were first introduced to the American public in 1871 and were one of the most popular cigarettes at the time. Americans owned Lucky Strike for quite some time before it was bought by the British-owned company British American Tobacco during the 1970s.
It is uncertain how much British American Tobacco paid to acquire Lucky Strike, but it must have been a lot, as cigarettes were still very popular during the 1970s. British American Tobacco capitalized on several American tobacco companies as they wanted to control the whole market. That is why there are a lot of American cigarettes sold in Europe.
Tommy Hilfiger started his fashion career during the 1960s, but it wasn't until the 1980s that he decided to create his own company, which sold some of the most fashionable clothes that all the young kids wanted. Tommy Hilfiger is now worth billions of dollars and has become an iconic clothing line worldwide.
In 2010, Tommy Hilfiger was going through some rough financial times and was bought out by PVH Corp, a company based in the Netherlands. Tommy Hilfiger is still a famous brand and doesn't look like it will go anywhere soon.
Etch A Sketch
Etch A Sketch was invented by Andre Cassagnes in 1955 and it wasn't until 1960 that it was sold by Ohio Arts and became one of the most popular toys in America. This simple toy allowed you to draw a picture mechanically with two knobs. Over the years, people have created masterpieces on an Etch A Sketch, which are still popular today.
Etch A Sketch was American owned for many years before it was purchased by Spin Master, which is a Canadian company, in 2016. Spin Master acquired Etch A Sketch for $100 million, which is a pretty good deal for being such an old toy.
Samsonite is an American luggage company that was founded in 1910. Since then, it has been supplying Americans with luggage and has quite a reputation for having good quality products. The company was doing well for many years until it eventually filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. CVC Capital Partners, a Belgian-based company, purchased Samsonite for $1.7 billion in 2007.
Samsonite stores are all over the world, and that is thanks to the new foreign owners of the company. There have been many American companies that have come and gone, so it is good to see some American companies still around even though they aren't American-owned.
AMC Theaters was founded in 1920 by Maurice, Edward, and Barney Dubinsky, who converted a local theater. The Dubinskys found that their movie theater became super popular and decided to open up more in Kansas City. By the 1980s, AMC Theaters were everywhere and were a significant competitor to other movie theater franchises.
In 2012, AMC Theaters was purchased by China's Wanda Group for $2.6 billion and they have owned it ever since. The future of AMC Theaters is uncertain as it has suffered from massive market fluxations, and it has been rumored that Amazon might buy the company, so that wouldn't be that bad as they are an American company.
Morgan Stanley was founded in 1935 and has been helping Americans with investment management for years. Morgan Stanley is a company that Americans have been trusting for over 80 years. The company was American owned for quite a while until it was eventually bought out by Mitsubishi UFG.
The Japanese bank acquired Morgan Stanley for $3 billion but didn't have full ownership over the company. The two companies work closely together and still work with Americans, but things have changed as Japanese investors support them.