Forbes began tracking private companies in 1985. There are 258 companies, including World Wide Technology, on this year's private companies list.
by Andrea Murphy, Forbes
SpaceX, the rocket firm founded and run by Elon Musk, has nabbed billions of dollars of government contracts last year, helping the company earn the 145th spot on Forbes' annual list of America's Largest Private Companies. Also making its debut is Sazerac, the liquor company owned by billionaire William Goldring, which enters the list at No. 207 with estimated revenue of $3 billion.
Cargill kept its number one spot for the third consecutive year. Koch Industries, Publix Supermarket and Mars take the 2nd, 3rd and 4th spots respectively, the same ranks as last year. Texas-based supermarket chain H-E-B moved back into the top five after dropping to No. 6 in 2022.
One thing SpaceX, Sazerac and the top five companies all have in common: billionaire owners. Altogether 59 of these private companies are billionaire-owned, including arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby (No. 75) run by founder David Green, Panda Restaurant Group (No.112) started by Andrew and Peggy Cherng in 1983 and medical device maker Arthrex (No. 184) owned by Reinhold Schmieding.
Forbes began tracking private companies in 1985. There are 258 companies on this year's private companies list, up from 246 last year. Inclusion on the list is based on having $2 billion or more in revenue from the most recent fiscal year. For 85% of list members, that means revenues for calendar 2022. Others have fiscal years that ended as recently as October 2023.