DEFINITION of 'Forbes 500'

The Forbes 500 was an annual list of the top 500 U.S. companies published by Forbes magazine. The list was determined by ranking and scoring U.S. companies across five different categories. Companies were ranked on the basis of the size of their sales, profits, assets, employees and market cap. In 2003, Forbes magazine stopped producing the list and replaced it with the Forbes Global 2000. The Forbes Global 2000 is a list similar to the Forbes 500, but it includes companies across the globe. Companies are ranked on sales, profits, assets, and market cap.

BREAKING DOWN 'Forbes 500'

The Forbes 500 used to be a list produced that ranked the largest 500 U.S. companies. This list was a good way to determine the aggregate influence of the largest U.S. companies. The new list, the Forbes Global 2000, is determined based on a similar premise but takes international firms into consideration as well. Similar to the discontinued Forbes 500 list, the Fortune 500 is a list of the largest 500 U.S. companies that is still currently produced. It determines the largest U.S. companies based on revenue.

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