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These American Companies Aren’t American Anymore

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‘Made in America’ sign is like nothing similar to this world. Older generations remember how it was when the majority of products were made in the States. However, those days are gone, and times have changed.

The economy is a living organism. Therefore, trends come and go, and companies have to adapt to survive. Some companies decide to expand, while others can’t survive within the highly competitive market. Then, there are those companies that are sold. Did you know that most popular American brands are now in foreign hands? Here is a list of the most popular consumer companies that are no longer able to truly call themselves Americans.

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30. Budweiser

Budweiser is an excellent example of standard American Lager. Every family barbeque includes this famous beer. You may notice that the can of popular Budweiser is rebranded, and there is a good reason for that. A Belgian company now owns this famous Amerian brand.

Historically, Budweiser is made by a German, Adolphus Busch, who moved to St. Louis and married the daughter of a local brewer, Eberhard Anheuser. The two decided to partner up and create this famous beer. In 2008, the company was sold to Belgium beer conglomerate InBev for $52 billion.

29. Ben & Jerrys

Ben & Jerry’s was started by best friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield after they purchased an old gas station and turned it into a scoop shop in 1978. Since 1978, this ice cream is recognized as ultimate American ice cream.

If you ask Americans today what’s their favorite American ice cream, they would definitely say that’s Ben & Jerry’s. Little is known, but this famous brand is no longer owned only by Americans. In 2000, the brand was bought by multinational consumer goods company Unilever for $326 million.

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28. Burger King

In 1954 James McLamore and David Edgerton opened a small hamburger shop called “Insta Burger King” in Miami, selling 18-cent hamburgers and milkshakes. Three years later, they decided to expand and created the signature “Whopper” burger.

In 1967, this duo sold the chain to, and it became the second-largest burger chain in the US after McDonald’s. Ever since the battle between McDonald’s and Burger King is on. In 2006 the company went public, just to be sold in 2010 to a private-equity firm. Now, Burger King is a part of Restaurant Brands International, a Canadian fast-food company.

27. Trader Joe’s

The famous chain of eco-conscious supermarket is named after its founder Joe Coulombe, who established the business in Pasadena, California, back in 1967. However, beloved Trader Joe’s has been German-owned for decades.

Trader Joe’s was acquired by Aldi’s Theo Albrecht, owner of the German supermarket brand Aldi Nord, in 1979, and is now owned by his heirs. The first Trader Joe’s store is still open in California.

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26. Lucky Strike

Lucky Strike is still one of the most popular smoking brands world-wide. Moreover, Lucky Strike is a top-selling cigarette brand. This famous brand was established in 1871 in Virginia.

Back in 1871, Lucky Strike was a small-sized company taken over by a large American tobacco company. In the ’70s, Lucky Strike is owned by British American Tobacco Company, a British tobacco company.

25. American Apparel

California brand American Apparel made a name for itself with its “Made in the USA — Sweatshop Free,” slogan, that people loved. At one moment, this company was actually the largest clothing manufacturer in North America, and that tempo lasted for two decades.

In 2015, the company filed for bankruptcy and spent almost two years recovering. In 2017, the Canadian clothing company Gildan bought American Apparel’s intellectual property rights — and some of its manufacturing equipment — for $88 million.

24. Holiday Inn

If you want excellent service, but yet you want to travel on a budget, than HolidayInn should be on your list. This famous US hotel chain was founded in 1952 and was named after the classic Christmas movie Holiday Inn.

This famous chain was American-owned until 1988 when it was acquired by the hotel’s division of British brewery Bass, which is now called the InterContinental Hotels Group.

23. Hellmann’s

The French may have been the first to invent mayonnaise, but Hellman’s is actually responsible for making it accessible and mandatory in most American kitchen. Did you know that this product was invented by a German immigrant Richard Hellmann? In 1905, Richard Hellman opened up a delicatessen in New York City and discovered that his homemade condiment was so popular that he started to sell it separately.

In 1932, the company was acquired by Best Foods. In 2000, Best Foods was bought by consumer goods conglomerate Unilever for $20.3 billion. To this day, the two brands operate separately. Hellmann’s Mayonnaise is sold east of the Rockies, and Best Foods Mayonnaise is sold west.

22. GE Appliances

General Electric is one of the most recognized appliance manufacturers globally. Americans love General Electric’s appliance for its quality, price, and availability.

In 2016, the General Electric’s appliance division was snapped up in 2016 for $5.4 billion (£4.1bn) by Chinese white goods company Haier. Luckily, Haier Group Corporation is a brand that is dedicated to quality, so American standards within the GE will remain.

21. Sunglass Hut

Sunglass Hut is an international retailer of sunglasses and sunglass accessories founded in Miami, Florida, United States, in 1971. The brand was founded by optometrist Sanford L. Ziff, who opened the firm’s first store in Miami.

Bu the 1980s, the chain was known as one of America’s leading sunglasses stores. In 2001, this American brand went under European management, when Milan-headquartered Luxottica Group bought Sunglass Hut in a $653 million (£493m) deal.

20. Hoover US

The Hoover Company is a vacuum cleaner company founded in Ohio in the US. This company produces vacuum cleaners from 1963. In 1986, the Hoover family sold the company. Maytag Corporation acquired it in 1989.

Little is known, but Whirlpool SOLD this famous company to Hong Kong-based investment company Techtronic Industries in 2007 for $108 million (£81.4m).

19. Motorola Mobility

Did you know that Motorola was founded in 1928? The company was founded by brothers, Paul and Joseph, who brought the world the first car radio. From there, the company pioneer the walkie talkie and mobile phone.

In 2011, the company was split into two divisions, and its Mobility arm was sold to China’s Lenovo three years later for $2.9 billion (£2.2bn). Motorola Solutions is the true heir of the original company Motorola.

18. AMC Theaters

AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc is an American movie theater chain. AMC is also the largest movie exhibition company in the States, Europe, and the world. Did you know that AMC operates approximately 1,000 theatres and 11,000 screens world-wide?

The Chinese Wanda Group owns the AMC majority. Dalian Wanda, the Chinese conglomerate run by the country’s richest man Wang Jianlin, acquired North American cinema behemoth AMC Theaters for $2.6 billion (£2bn) in 2012. The Chinese group now controls 5,048 cinema screens in 347 movie theatres across the US and Canada.

17. Ironman

Ironman is one of the most popular fitness challenges today. This competition is physically demanding, and it’s not for everyone. Still, around 50,000 people finish any of the 25 full Ironman events per year.

In 2015, Dalian Wanda looted the company offers to buy the World Triathlon Corp from America’s Providence Equity Partners LLC for a cool $900 million (£679m). Now, this corporation owns the world-famous Ironman brand and organizes triathlon events across the globe.

16. Legendary Entertainment Group

Dalian Wanda decided to expand its portfolio by buying one of the most lucrative American movie studios. This massive milestone happened last year, and people still don’t know that this American brand is no longer American.

The Chinese conglomerate parted with $3.5 billion (£2.6bn) to take over Legendary Entertainment Group, the firm that co-financed movies from Jurassic Park to Warcraft.

15. Dirt Devil

Dirt Devil is a famous US manufacturer of vacuum cleaners since 1905. Many would say that this is the most American company, as it gets. However, this company was sold back in 2002 to another company.

Hong Kong’s Techtronic Industries actually bought parent company Royal Appliances Manufacturing Company in 2002 for $105.5 million (£80m). Luckily, they still produce vacuum cleaners and floor care.

14. Forbes

Forbes Magazine is globally known as the leading American magazine on business-related topics. It’s published every second week, and its content is 100% original and created based on the most recent trends.

Still, a small number of Americans know that this US business published was sold to Hong Kong’s Integrated Whale Media Investments in 2014 for an undisclosed sum.

13. Good Humor

Nothing can bring happiness during the hot summer days like the sight of an ice cream truck. If that truck is branded with Good Humor logo that the happiness is endless. Americans know how amazing Good Humor’s ice cream is. Good Humor was founded in 1920 by a candy-maker Harry Burt.

It’s time for Americans to know the truth about this brand. Good Humor can also be called Good Humour because the American ice cream firm was acquired in 1961 by the UK’s Lipton and is now a subsidiary of British-Dutch company Unilever.

12. Popsicle

Unilever also owns Popsicle, which was bought by Good Humor in 1989. Popsicle first appeared in 1924 when California native Francis Epperson patented his ‘frozen confectionery’ on a stick.

People love frozen sugar on a stick, and its globally loved products. Did you know that the very first Popsicles were sold for just five cents? Or that they came in seven flavors? One of those flavors was cherry flavor, which is still the most popular Popsicle.

11. Purina

Even if you don’t have a pet, you must have heard about Purina – one of the world’s biggest pet food companies. Purina was founded in the late 19th century making feed for livestock.

The firm was founded by social campaigner William H. Danforth and was American-owned until 1986. In 1986, Purina was sold to British Petroleum. Swiss giant Nestlé subsequently bought the firm.

10. Firestone

In 1901, Harvey Firestone founded this famous American tire company. He was the one responsible for pioneering the mass production of car tires. Firestone was a close friend of Henry Ford and ended up supplying tires for Ford’s vehicles.

Firestone has been in business for over 100 years. So far, this brand is a trusted name in quality rubber products. Today, this company is owned by the Japanese brand. Now Japanese-owned, the firm was sold to Tokyo’s Bridgestone Corporation in 1988.

9. Citgo

Citgo was founded in the early 20th century by Ohio oilman Henry Latham Doherty, who turned it into one of America’s leading oil companies. Citgo is also a transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, petrochemicals, lubricants, and other industrial services.

This company is United States-based was sold in 1990 to the Venezuelan state oil and gas corporation. Rumor has it that it will be sold soon to Russia. Last year, crisis-hit Venezuela put up Citgo as collateral for its mounting Russian debt.

8. Gerber

Gerber was founded in 1927 in Fremont, Michigan, by Daniel Frank Gerber, owner of the Fremont Canning Company. At the time, Fremont produced canned fruit and vegetables. Dorothy, Frank’s wife, suggested that he start making hand-strained food for their seven-month-old daughter, Sally.

He did, and the rest is history. The favorite baby food was born. In 1994, the Gerber company was merged with Sandoz Laboratories in 1994 and, like Purina, was later acquired by Switzerland’s Nestlé.

7. Frigidaire

Frigidaire was founded in 1918, and it was developed as the world’s first self-contained refrigerator in its factory in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

When it comes to the burgeoning air conditioning market, Frigidaires was a massive player. Owned for years by General Motors, the company ended up in the hands of Sweden’s Electrolux in 1986.

6. Waldorf Astoria

The famous Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City is a synonym for glamour and glitz. When the present Waldorf Astoria opened in October 1931, the Art Deco classic surpassed even its predecessor in grandeur. The hotel contained 2,200 rooms and towered 47 stories above Park Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets.

Today, this famous hotel is still a synonym for glamour, although it’s not American-owned anymore. The Waldorf Astoria was acquired by the Chinese Insurance giant Angbang Insurance Group in 2014 for $1.95 billion (£1.47bn). The group is planning to convert some of the hotel’s rooms into luxury condos.

5. Strategic Hotels & Resorts

Strategic Hotels & Resorts is an American REIT in the hospitality industry. So far, this single brand owns whole or partial ownership of 60 hotels.

The bulk of the hotels operate under brands licensed from Hilton Worldwide, including Hilton, DoubleTree, and Embassy Suites. Angband increased its US presence two years later by acquiring Strategic Hotels & Resorts for $6 billion (£4.5bn).

4. Ingram Micro

Ingram Micro is the planet’s most significant technology product wholesaler and a significant player in the global IT industry. Currently, the IT industry is one of the largest in the world, and one of the most profitable.

Ingram Micro was founded in 1978 in Nashville, Tennessee. For years, Ingram Micro was US-owned until last year when it was sold to a subsidiary of China’s HNA Group for $6 billion (£4.6bn).

3. IBM PC Division

IBM is one of the giants of the technology industry. This company revolutionized the home computer market in the States, and then in the rest of the world.

By the 2000s, the firm’s PC operation was faltering. The Beijing-based company bought IBM’s PC Division for a cool $1.25 billion (£954m) in 2005.

2. John Hancock Life Insurance

John Hancock Life Insurance company is one oft he oldest ones when it comes to private insurance. Did you know that this company was founded in 1862?

John Hancock Life Insurance company is a company with a long tradition and rich history. Moreover, it is US-based, and it was wholly American-controlled until 2004. In 2004, the famous company was bought by Canadian insurer Manulife Financial Corporation.

1. Smithfield

Smithfield Foods is a U.S.-based global food company and the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer. The company is based in Smithfield, Virginia. Overall, this brand is known as America’s premier pork producer.

However, this American manufacturer is now Chinese-owned. Shuanghui Group, the world’s leading pork producer, bought the company for $4.7 billion (£3.5bn) in 2013.

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