What is the 'Fortune 100'

The Fortune 100 is an annual list of the 100 largest public and privately held companies in the United States. The ranking is compiled using gross revenue figures, and is published by Fortune magazine. The Fortune 100 list is more exclusive than both the Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 lists, both of which rank more companies.

BREAKING DOWN 'Fortune 100'

The Fortune 100 list does not take foreign companies into consideration, though many of the listed companies have international operations. The list is made up of public companies and private companies that report annual revenue figures.

Fortune 100 in 1955

Fortune first published its annual list of top revenue-producing companies in 1955. The original list was stricter on which business sectors were included. From 1955 to 1994, the Fortune 100 list only included businesses in the manufacturing, mining and energy sectors. This left out many of the top earning companies across the country. Fortune did publish individual sector lists for the top 50 companies in the industries of banks, utilities, insurance, retailers and transportation.

The Fortune 100 in 1955 was led by General Motors, a company that held the top position for more than 30 years. The remaining top 10 was rounded out by Exxon, US Steel, General Electric, Esmark, Chrysler, Armour, Gulf Oil, Mobil and DuPont. General Motors had revenue of $9.8 billion to top the list.

Big Change to Fortune 100 List in 1994

In 1994, Fortune expanded its list of companies to also include service companies, opening the door for many newcomers to join. This change added many new companies to the Fortune 100 list and also dramatically increased the amount of annual revenue needed to make the prestigious list. A company had to produce $10.9 billion in revenue to make the 1995 Fortune 100 list, compared to $5.3 billion in 1994.

The change made in 1994 allowed Wal-Mart to join the list. The leading American retailer topped the list in 2015 and has been a frequent top 10 company since its inclusion at the 1994 switch.

Fortune 100 in 2015

Wal-Mart was the top company on the Fortune 100 in 2015 with revenue of $485.7 billion. The rest of the top 10 was Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, General Motors, Philipps 66, General Electric, Ford and CVS. General Dynamics, which ranked 100th on the list had revenue of $30.9 billion.

The 2015 Fortune 100 list also included six private companies, all coming from the insurance sector. State Farm Insurance led the private companies, ranking 41st.

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