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Fortune Releases Annual Fortune 500 List: Wal-Mart is #1

Wal-Mart Takes Top Spot From Exxon Mobil

(May 6, 2013, New York, NY)—Today, FORTUNE releases the FORTUNE 500, its annual ranking of the largest corporations in the United States, ranked by revenue for the 2012 fiscal year. The FORTUNE 500 companies earned a combined $820 billion in profits in 2012, which represents a decline of just $4 billion, or 0.5%, from the all-time record, set in 2011. Total combined revenue hit $12.06 trillion, up from $11.75 trillion last year.

See the full list here:

FORTUNE's Shawn Tully writes, "The animal spirits are back. That’s the big story in the new Fortune 500…. After a few years of caution following the financial crisis, in 2012 corporate America was once again seized by the 'urge to action' famously described by economist John Maynard Keynes. The shift to aggressive behavior is exemplified by two major trends in the 500. The first is an increase in spinoffs, as companies shed nonfundamental business units to concentrate on their core strengths. The second is a resurgence in mergers and acquisitions."

The No. 1 company each year on the list since 1955 has been General Motors, Exxon Mobil, or Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, grew sales by nearly $23 billion to wrest the No. 1 spot back from Exxon Mobil and top the list for the ninth time -- and for the seventh time in the past decade. GM is now ranked at No. 7.

On this year's list, the financial sector showed the highest growth (+33.5%) in profits year-over-year, followed by consumer staples (3.7%) and healthcare (0.2%). Hewlett-Packard (No. 15) had the largest loss of the year, with a decrease in profits of $12.7 billion.

Fannie Mae (No. 12) and Freddie Mac (No. 31) returned to profitability for the first time since 2006, with $11 billion and $17.2 billion in profits, respectively. FORTUNE's Shawn Tully writes, "Those home-loan behemoths lost a combined $258 billion from 2007 to 2011…. Fannie and Freddie were helped by a jump in mortgage originations, as well as improved lending standards that enabled them to replace bad loans purchased from 2005 to 2008 with far better-quality mortgages." (No. 473) joins the FORTUNE 500 for the first time this year; its annualized 5-year total return of 40.1% is the highest among this year's companies. Facebook also makes the list for the first time at No. 482.

Today marks the second annual FORTUNE 500 Day and this evening, the Empire State Building will be lit up in red, white and blue in honor of the FORTUNE 500 list and American business success.

The FORTUNE 500 issue hits newsstands and tablets today.


1.Wal-Mart Stores
2. Exxon Mobil
3. Chevron
4. Phillips 66
5. Berkshire Hathaway
6. Apple
7. General Motors
8. General Electric
9. Vallero Energy
10. Ford Motor

See the full FORTUNE 500 list and more here:

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-- California has 54 companies on the FORTUNE 500, the most of any state. New York added two this year to tie Texas for second place with 52 companies each.
-- If the FORTUNE 500 was a country, it would be the world's second-largest economy, just behind the U.S.
-- Only 57 of the original Fortune 500 companies have been on the list every year since its inception.
-- 24 companies are new to the FORTUNE 500 list this year; 19 companies returned to the list after not appearing last year.
-- There are 20 female CEOs at FORTUNE 500 companies on the list this year.
-- The oldest FORTUNE 500 CEO this year is Dole Food's David Murdock at 90 years old; The youngest FORTUNE 500 CEO is Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg at 28 years old.
-- Two FORTUNE 500 CEOs are under 40 years of age: Mark Zuckerberg and Yahoo's Marissa Mayer (37).
-- Leslie Wexner, CEO of L Brands since 1963, is the longest-serving CEO of a FORTUNE 500 company.


-- On mergers and acquisitions: "Thirteen companies exited the list, accounting for $201 billion in sales. That’s almost triple last year’s revenue total for departed companies, and the highest number since 2000. In 10 of those deals, the buyer was another 500 member that in most cases substantially raised its ranking."

-- On spinoffs: "The largest deal came out of Big Oil. The integrated petroleum producers continue to unwind their previous strategy of covering the gamut from drilling to retailing. For several years they’ve been shedding refineries to focus on higher-margin exploration and production. In 2012 the shift accelerated. ConocoPhillips spun off its refining arm as Phillips 66. The new company, Phillips 66 ($169.6 billion in revenues), replaced its former parent at No. 4 on the list, while ConocoPhillips fell to No. 45. Another spinoff entering the list is Kraft Foods Group (No. 151), the offspring of the former Kraft Foods, which renamed itself Mondelez (No. 88)."

-- On this year's comeback sector: "The comeback sector of the year was financial services. All told, the financial sector boasts the highest total profits of any industry group in the 500 for 2012: $200 billion, or $53 billion more than technology, which came in second."

-- On the tech industry: "[T]he tech sector was relatively quiet: The biggest deal was Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility, making Google (No. 55) not just the supplier of operating systems for Android phones but a manufacturer as well."

-- On health care: "The health care industry continued its consolidation wave. Companies are expanding in areas where the Affordable Care Act is expected to boost business. A notable example is pharmacy benefit management. Express Scripts made a gigantic jump from No. 60 on last year’s list to No. 24 this year by purchasing archrival Medco and now reigns as the nation’s largest manager of prescription drugs."

Read Tully's full introduction to the 2013 FORTUNE 500 here:

-Best Companies to Work For in the 500:
-20 biggest stock gainers:
-20 biggest stock losers:
-13 things you didn't know about the Fortune 500:
-Social media stars:
-6 spinoff successes:
-Fortune 500 companies that secretly run your life:

FORTUNE's annual portfolio of FORTUNE 500 boards of directors including Walt Disney, Coca-Cola, LinkedIn, Smithsonian Institution, BlackRock and CSX:
See video of the photo shoot at the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, D.C. with the Smithsonian board, including Vice President Joe Biden, Chief Justice John Roberts, Steve Case and more:

The FORTUNE 500+ App, free to all subscribers, is the only place you can see the FORTUNE 1000 list:

—Find and research the 1,000 biggest companies in America.
—Use LinkedIn to see who you know at each company and who your contacts know.
—Search job listings through Indeed.

FORTUNE 500 Methodology:
Companies are ranked by total revenues for their respective fiscal years. Included in the survey are companies that are incorporated in the U.S. and operate in the U.S. and file financial statements with a government agency. This includes private companies and cooperatives that file a 10-K or a comparable financial statement with a government agency, and mutual insurance companies that file with state regulators. It also includes companies that file with a government agency but are owned by private companies, domestic or foreign, that do not file such financial statements. Excluded are private companies not filing with a government agency; companies incorporated outside the U.S.; and U.S. companies owned or controlled by other companies, domestic or foreign, that file with a government agency. Also excluded are companies that failed to report full financial statements for at least three quarters of the current fiscal year. Percent change calculations for revenues, net income, and earnings per share are based on data as originally reported. They are not restated for mergers, acquisitions, or accounting changes. The only changes to the prior years’ data are for significant restatement due to reporting errors that require a company to file an amended 10-K.

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Monday, May 6, 2013