Fortune 100

The upper fifth subset of the more extensive Fortune 500 company list.

Sid Arora

Reviewed by

Sid Arora

Expertise: Investment Banking | Hedge Fund | Private Equity


September 13, 2022

The Fortune 100 is the upper fifth subset of the more extensive Fortune 500 company list, highlighting the top 500 public and private companies in the United States by revenue.

When creating this list, Fortune ranks private and public companies that forward their annual revenues to the government.

Therefore, the top 100 spots in the list are given to the best-performing companies based on the total annual revenues for the company’s respective fiscal year. A fiscal year is a one-year period a company uses to prepare its financial statements for accounting purposes.

Furthermore, this list also discloses stockholders’ equity, after-tax profit, assets, market value, and the companies' EPS (Earnings Per Share). All these factors are essential because this list outlines the country’s most influential companies.

This prestigious ranking is critical for the companies themselves since falling in rank or off the list can be terrible news for the company and its industry/sector and vice versa.

As listing out every company in the Fortune 100 for 2022 would be rather exhaustive, listed below are the top 10 performers, as of 2022, and their industries:

  • Walmart - Retail
  • Amazon - Retail
  • Apple - Tech
  • CVS Health - Healthcare
  • UnitedHealth Group - Healthcare
  • Exxon Mobile - Energy
  • Berkshire Hathaway - Financial
  • Alphabet - Tech
  • McKesson - Healthcare
  • AmerisourceBergen - Healthcare

History of the Fortune 100

In 1955, Fortune published the first ever Fortune 500, which ranked companies based on their revenue for the most recent financial year. The Fortune 100 was extrapolated as an unofficial sublist of the more extensive arrangement.

Before all this, Fortune was created by the Atlantic Monthly Company in 1929. It began publishing monthly, then biweekly, and recently published multiple times a year.

It is now known as one of the premieres and internationally-renowned business magazines and is revered for its annual publishings of the Fortune 500 and 100.

Its widespread media presence is used to disseminate unrivaled news to aid readers by providing high standards of accuracy and transparency. 

For the first few decades, General Motors ranked first on the list, with its revenues exceeding $9 billion, as shown in the video below. However, as time progressed, General Motors was soon surrounded by other booming companies like Exxon, Chrysler, and Walmart.

This growth was made possible due to Fortune expanding the industries that companies could be a part of to qualify for the 500 list.

This year marks the 67th edition of ranking the most prominent corporations within the United States. 2022's 500 firms accumulated $13.8 trillion in revenue, or about two-thirds of the United State's GDP, while the top 100 generated approximately $5 trillion.

Requisites to be part of the List

One of the first requirements is that the company is native to the United States, even if it does have overseas operations. The other requirements mainly focus on the type of industry the companies are a part of.

From 1955 to 1994, the editors were rather stringent on the business sectors, only including companies that were a part of the manufacturing, energy, or mining industries.

However, Fortune did not neglect the other industries and compensated by configuring a Top 50 list for companies in the banking, insurance, utilities, transportation, and retail sectors.

Subsequently, in 1994, Fortune lowered the barriers to entry for the Fortune 500 by allowing companies in other industries, like service, to be included. As expected, this alteration caused many new companies to join the list, increasing the list's competitiveness and prestige.

Additionally, Fortune can only consider companies if they report their financial statements to a U.S. public government agency, like the SEC.

Fortune can rank these companies based on filings like Form 10-K, revenue generated, and any information from the fiscal year provided.

Differences between the Fortune 100 and other Fortune Lists

While a couple of lists may sound very similar to the Fortune 100, they are still slightly different. This includes the 100 Best Companies to Work For and the 100 Fastest-Growing Companies.

1. 100 Best Companies to Work For

This list is different from the Fortune 100 because it compiles employees' thoughts on their respective companies, fueled by surveys on their trust, growth opportunities, quality of leadership, as well as many other qualitative factors. 

It's critical to note that it ignores company fundamentals like revenue.

To be eligible, companies must have more than a thousand employees and cannot be government agencies.

2. 100 Fastest-Growing Companies

This list is different because it highlights ranking derived from revenue growth rate, EPS growth, and three-year annualized total return.

Furthermore, real estate investment trusts, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, business development companies, closed-end investment firms, and companies that lost money in the previous quarter are excluded from this list.

To qualify, the company must be publicly traded on a major United States stock exchange, file quarterly SEC reports, and have a minimum market capitalization of $250 million and a stock price of at least $5 as of June of the year before the list’s publication, according to Fortune.

Final Considerations

With this in mind, the Fortune 100 has proven to be a robust list of companies ranked by many quantitative factors yet differentiated from the 100 best or fastest-growing companies.

As the Fortune 100 is the upper fifth of the Fortune 500 list, the companies are even more prestigious and successful in their endeavors due to being at the absolute pinnacle of the entire American economy.

Moreover, making the Fortune 100 is exceedingly competitive, as even making the 500 is difficult due to the sheer amount of companies throughout America.

Additionally, Fortune Magazine also publishes other ranking lists, including:

  • 40 Under 40
  • Global 500
  • 100 Best Companies to Work For
  • Most Powerful Women
  • World's Most Admired Companies

Nonetheless, through continually modifying such lists, Fortune can instill entrepreneurial spirit within the American economy throughout companies nationwide.

US-based companies look to optimize their production and services to generate the most revenue and any other operational aspects that contribute to their overall success.

The Fortune 100 list is the "cherry on top" for the most successful in American business.

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Researched and authored by Shreyas John | LinkedIn

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