Buying American, or investing in American companies, is not as easy as it once was. Foreign corporations or investors now own companies that many of us have always considered being "Made in America."

Guide To Oil And Gas Plays: We've got your comprehensive guide to oil and gas shales in North America.

Budweiser
Budweiser feels as American as baseball. In fact, you can find their beers at most American ballparks. In 1876, Adolphus Busch is said to have perfected the recipe for The Great "American" Lager. Sadly, it is no longer purely American. Although Bud Light and Budweiser are the number one and number two bestselling beers in America, the company is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev N.V (NYSE:BUD), a Belgian and Brazilian company headquartered in Belgium.

Good Humor
Who could turn down a Choco Taco, Strawberry shortcake on a stick or an Oreo Ice Cream bar? Especially when it's hand delivered by that American icon, the Good Humor ice cream man? You are never too old to be excited when the ice cream man drives by. However, what feels so all-American to us is anything but. In 1923, Good Humor received its first patent, a valuable asset. In 1965, Lipton purchased Good Humor. Later, Lipton became part of Unilever (NYSE:UL), a British-Dutch conglomerate.

Trader Joe's
If you live in an area served by a Trader Joe's store, you know it has an almost cult-like following. Much like Whole Foods (Nasdaq:WFM), Trader Joe's is known for healthy foods and ingredients. The original chain, established in 1958, was called Pronto Markets. In 1967, founder, Joe Coulombe, known as Trader Joe, changed the name. German billionaires Karl and Theo Albrecht, who also own a discount supermarket chain, ALDI, bought the company in 1979.

Firestone
If you happen to live in or around Akron, Ohio, you know that one of the most storied parts of local history includes that of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Founded by Henry Firestone in 1900, the company not only produced tires it also invented a demountable rim that allowed drivers to change their own tires, and the non-skid tread. Sales topped $1 million by 1906 (over $25 million in today's dollars) and Firestone became a household name. In 1988, the Bridgestone Corporation (OTC:BRDCY) of Japan purchased Firestone.

Gerber
When you see that cute little baby on the front of those jars of Gerber baby food, you can't help but think back to the days when your parents fed you from those tiny containers. Founded in Michigan in 1927, Gerber is, or rather was, an American icon. In 1994, Gerber merged with Sandoz Laboratories, which would later merge with a company that would form pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS). Novartis would then sell Gerber to Nestle (OTC:NSRGY), a Swiss multinational, in 2007. Who could say no to that cute baby? American ownership, that's who.

Shell
This one has Americans completely fooled because it was never American to begin with. The iconic yellow and red Shell logo actually comes from Dutch company, Koninklijke Nederlandsche Petroleum Maatschappij. Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it? The easier to pronounce name is Royal Dutch Shell, (NYSE:RDS-A) a company formed when Royal Dutch Petroleum and the Shell Transport and Trading Company merged in 1907. Each company was worried about a takeover by Standard Oil, a company founded by American John D. Rockefeller.

Alka-Seltzer
OK, it is not a company but this American medicine cabinet staple probably has better name recognition than half the corporations in America. Overeating is as American as pizza and yes, apple pie. In fact, if you regularly consume pizza followed by apple pie, chances are Alka-Seltzer is a staple in your house. Who can ever forget that tuneful Alka-Seltzer catch phrase, "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is?" It might sour your stomach to know that Alka-Seltzer is no more American than the taco. It is owned by Bayer AG, (OTC:BAYRY) a German pharmaceutical company.

The Bottom Line
Not to worry, there are still plenty of American companies alive and well - for now, at least. Ford (NYSE:F), Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) are just a few. Some historic American companies have been purchased by foreign interests. However, we have a long ways to go before the American business itself becomes foreign owned.

At the time of writing, Tim Parker did not own any shares in any company mentioned in this article.

Related Articles
  1. Options & Futures

    Use Options to Hedge Against Iron Ore Downslide

    Using iron ore options is a way to take advantage of a current downslide in iron ore prices, whether for producers or traders.
  2. Stock Analysis

    Net Neutrality: Pros and Cons

    The fight over net neutrality has become an amazing spectacle. But at its core, it's yet another skirmish in cable television's war to remain relevant.
  3. Markets

    Why Gluten Free Is Now Big Business

    Is it essential to preserving your health, or just another diet fad? Either way, gluten-free foods have become big business.
  4. Professionals

    Chinese Slowdown Affects Iron Ore Market

    The Chinese economy's ongoing slowdown is having a major impact on iron ore demand.
  5. Personal Finance

    A Day in the Life of an Equity Research Analyst

    What does an equity research analyst do on an everyday basis?
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: PowerShares S&P 500 Downside Hedged

    Find out about the PowerShares S&P 500 Downside Hedged ETF, and learn detailed information about characteristics, suitability and recommendations of it.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: ProShares Large Cap Core Plus

    Learn information about the ProShares Large Cap Core Plus ETF, and explore detailed analysis of its characteristics, suitability and recommendations.
  8. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Core Growth Allocation

    Find out about the iShares Core Growth Allocation Fund, and learn detailed information about its characteristics, suitability and recommendations.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility

    Learn about the iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility exchange-traded fund, which invests in low-volatility equities traded on the U.S. stock market.
  10. Stock Analysis

    Should You Follow Millionaires into This Sector?

    Millionaire investors—and those who follow them—should take another look at the current economic situation before making any more investment decisions.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Equity

    The value of an asset less the value of all liabilities on that ...
  2. Hard-To-Sell Asset

    An asset that is extremely difficult to dispose of either due ...
  3. Sucker Yield

    When an investor has essentially risked all of his capital for ...
  4. PT (Perseroan Terbatas)

    An acronym for Perseroan Terbatas, which is Limited Liability ...
  5. Ltd. (Limited)

    An abbreviation of "limited," Ltd. is a suffix that ...
  6. BHD (Berhad)

    The suffix Bhd. is an abbreviation of a Malay word "berhad," ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between issued share capital and subscribed share capital?

    The difference between subscribed share capital and issued share capital is the former relates to the amount of stock for ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!