You might say that the best way to grade companies would be based on their revenue or total assets, since they seem quite easy to understand. Unfortunately, this method doesn‘t work as well with giant, multi-billion dollar companies. Stock shares are by far the best way to judge them.
The total value of all shares of a company can be calculated by multiplying share prices by the number of stocks owned by investors. This number gives a pretty accurate value of the company, since it represents the value of all investments in the company. In this list we present the 10 companies with the highest total value of all outstanding shares that are publicly traded. While there are companies that far exceed the value of companies in this list, they‘re either private or owned by the state.
10. Berkshire Hathaway Inc.: $227 billion
Best known for being controlled by Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., located in Omaha, Nebraska, is a company that owns and maintains other companies. These include Dairy Queen, Fruit of the Loom, GEICO and many others. The company also owns 50% of Heinz and has invested sizable amounts into American Express, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo and IBM. Berkshire Hathaway‘s share value reached $200.00 a piece for the first time in August last year and has been growing by 20% annually ever since. Forbes Global 2000 by Forbes magazine ranks Berkshire Hathaway Inc. as the 5th largest public company with revenue of over $180 billion and market capitalization of $227 billion in 2013.
9. Walmart: $246.8 billion
Walmart is one of the best known multi-billion dollar multinational companies, for it is the largest retail chain on the planet with over two million employees worldwide. It‘s also the largest private sector employer in the world. The company has already made over $475 billion this year alone. It‘s still owned by the founder Sam Walton‘s family ever since he started it in 1962. Walmart‘s market capitalization has reached $250 billion in 2014, with shares valued around $76 and rising.
8. General Electric: $257.2 billion
This legendary company is the only one remaining from the original 12 listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average to be publicly traded to this day. With it‘s revenue of $146 billion, assets at $650 billion and market capitalization reaching $257 billion, this company rightfully takes it‘s place as the 4th largest company in The Forbes 2000 and 26th largest according to Fortune 500. Though General Electric had trouble in 2013, they‘re likely to make a return to the top in the near future.
7. Hoffmann-La Roche: $258.5 billion
Hoffman-La Roche is based in Switzerland, but has locations in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This pharmaceutical company with pharmaceutical and diagnostic research divisions, owns subsidiary companies Chugai Pharmaceuticals, Vantena and Ganetech. This pharmaceutical giant has grown by about $16 billion since last year and continues to command a bigger and bigger part of their industry.
6. Wells Fargo: $261.2 billion
This bank has solidified it‘s position as one of top banks in the world with 70 million clients over 35 different countries being serviced in 100.000 establishments. Wells Fargo proudly and rightly calls itself one of the ,,Big Four“ banks in the U.S. . Based on market capitalization of $261.2 billion, this bank takes the number one spot in the world, while being the fourth largest bank in U.S. based on total assets, which have reached a whopping $1.5 trillion. In 2013, Wells Fargo gained profit of $21 billion and continues to keep it‘s place as one of the top banks in the post-2008 crisis market.
5. Johnson & Johnson: $302 billion
This company is responsible for popular consumer brands such as Tylenol, Band-Aid, Neutrogena Skin Care, Acuvue contact lenses, Clean and Clear and, of course, Johnson & Johnson baby products. As if that‘s not enough, they have a well developed pharmaceutical division, which produces medicines to treat tuberculosis, Crohn‘s disease and Colitis. This division alone racks up 30% of the total $71.3 billion of company revenue. Johnson & Johnson‘s market capitalization is over $300 billion, with market shares going for $107.10 a piece.
4. Microsoft: $382.4 billion
This company is well known for it‘s huge innovations in the computer market, and billionaire employees, so it‘s no surprise that Microsoft is on this list. Founded by Bill Gates in 1972, the company floated for initial public offering in 1986, so there‘s no doubt that this company has played a huge role in developing the industry they‘re in, and billions of people are using one of their many operating systems for PCs today. Trying not to fall off in this highly competitive market, Microsoft has tried diversifying into home gaming and smart phone fields, with varying success. With all their ups and downs, the company still reported total revenue of over $88 billion and assets valued at $172.38 billion in 2014, and has a $382.4 billion market capitalization.
3. Google: $390.3 billion
It‘s hard to belive that this company, with humble begginings as a search engine a mere decade ago, now essentially holds a monopoly on the Internet. Having branched-out to Gmail, Google+, Android devices and owning Youtube, Google surprisingly still earns most of its revenue through AdWords. The revenue has grown about $10 billion from 2012 to 2013. Add to that market capitalization of $390.3 billion and total assets reaching $110 billion last year, and this technology giant has nowhere to go but up.
2. Exxon Mobil: $407 billion
Irving Texas‘s Exxon Mobil is the largest gas and oil company traded publicly in the world, providing 3% of total world‘s oil. It claims it‘s title of the most profitable company in the world with total assets of $346 billion, 2013 revenues of $491 billion and market capitalization of $407 billion. Despite the many controversies of oil spills and business practices, which almost come naturally with the oil business, this company is one of the most powerful in the world.
1. Apple Inc: $603.3 billion
Without a doubt, Apple gets the number one spot on the list. This company probably has the biggest brand loyalty and brand recognition, with billions of consumers lining up at launch events to buy every new Apple product, despite it sometimes not meeting expectations, like the iPhone 6. It‘s debatable if Apple deserves their consumer loyalty, but what‘s for sure is that it brings in huge profits annually. Shadowed only by Samsung in total revenue for a technology company, Apple‘s revenue was $170 billion in 2013, total assets reach $207 billion and market capitalization of $603.3 billion is something to behold of, since it‘s the biggest in the world and earns Apple this spot on the list. Apple’s founder was Steve Jobs.