What will undoubtedly be the hottest IPO of 2012 was announced on February 1; Facebook officially filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to become a public company under the ticker symbol "FB." Although the stock won't likely hit the market until the second quarter of 2012, the hype surrounding this offering has taken over the investing landscape.
Facebook is big, but are there other private companies that would cause an equal amount of hype if they were to take their company public? Investors have a long list of private companies that they wish were publicly traded.
See: The Ups And Downs Of Initial Public Offerings
If you love a good Milky Way candy bar or a package of M&Ms, you love the Mars Company. Not only do they make popular products like Skittles, Snickers and 3 Musketeers, but they also make Uncle Ben's rice and Whiskas pet food. Yearly revenue comes in at more than $27 billion and they employ 64,000 people.
Chic-Fil-A is a privately owned restaurant chain with a menu full of chicken items and a focus on a family-friendly environment in all of their restaurants. As one of the fasting growing fast food restaurant chains in America, it had annual sales of $3.5 billion in 2010, an impressive 11.37% gain over 2009. The company had an average same-store sales increase of 5.6%. There are currently 1,500 locations, and the company is rapidly expanding.
As a company founded at the end of the Civil War, Cargill has shown its ability to adapt to the rapidly changing agriculture industry. Cargill manufactures and distributes agricultural products, and provides risk management and commodities trading services. The company has annual revenues of more than $110 billion and continue to be a leader in the agriculture market. (For more, read How To Invest In Commodities.)
Publix Super Markets, primarily located throughout Florida, South Caroline, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, is the largest employee-owned supermarket chain in the United States. With an employee base of 145,000 and annual revenues of more than $23 billion, Publix continues to expand throughout its southeastern territory.
As the largest mutual fund company and a client base of 24 million individuals, Fidelity investments rivals some of the largest privately owned investment management firms. It has revenues north of $15 billion and employs 44,000 people. (For more, check out How To Pick A Good Mutual Fund.)
Enterprise Rent-A-Car is the largest rental car business in the United States. The company has over 7,000 rental offices all over the country employing more than 78,000 people. In 2007, Enterprise acquired National Car Rental and Alamo Rent-A-Car, expanding its fleet to 1.1 million vehicles and $13 billion in revenues.
The Bottom Line
Facebook may be the hottest private company to go public in 2012, but there are many more that investors wish would file for an IPO. Most of these companies have a long history of remaining private, making the chances of an IPO very slim. Still, that doesn't stop investors from hoping that someday that will change.