11 symbol U.S. corporations that are no longer American

Sipping on a cool Budweiser or digging into a Whopper used to be the quintessential American pastime. However, those times are long gone.


A temporary renaming (R) of Budweiser cans and bottles.   REUTERS/Jones Knowles Ritchie New York
Thomson Reuters
Current owner: Anheuser-Busch InBev, Belgian brewers

Don't be taken in by Budweiser's rebranding. Although the cans say "America," this beer is now owned by a Belgian company.

Budweiser's origins begins in the 1850s, when a German named Adolphus Busch immigrated to St. Louis and married the daughter of a local brewer named Eberhard Anheuser. The two became partners, but Busch eventually took over the company and developed the light, crisp beer we know today. His brewery grew to become the largest beer manufacturer in the country.

InBev, a Belgian beer corporation, purchased the firm in 2008 for $52 billion.

Ben & Jerrys

Ben and Jerrys
Marina Nazario/Business Insider
Current owner: Unilever, Dutch-British consumer goods company

Ben & Jerry's, America's legendary ice cream company, was founded in 1978 by best friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who acquired an abandoned gas station and converted it into a scoop shop.

Unilever, a multinational consumer products firm, purchased the brand for $326 million in 2000.

Lucky Strike

Lucky Strike
Shutterstock/Lenscap Photography
Current owner: British American Tobacco company, a British tobacco company

Lucky Strike, formerly America's best-selling cigarette brand, was founded in Virginia in 1871 and was later purchased by a huge American tobacco firm.

When the British American Tobacco corporation purchased its old owner in the 1970s, it passed into British ownership.

Burger King

Burger King
Facebook/Burger King
Current owner: Restaurant Brands International, Canadian fast-food company

In 1954, James McLamore and David Edgerton launched "Insta Burger King," a modest hamburger eatery in Miami that sold 18-cent hamburgers and milkshakes. Three years later, they ditched the "Insta," installed a gas grill, and invented the "Whopper" burger.

The pair sold the firm to the Pillsbury Company in 1967, and it grew to become the second-largest burger brand in the United States behind McDonald's. Following a series of mergers and acquisitions with its parent firm, the chain changed hands multiple times until going public in 2006. It was sold to private-equity firm 3G Capital in 2010 and returned to private ownership.

Today, it is a subsidiary of Restaurant Brands International, a Canadian fast food corporation founded by the merger of Burger King with the Canadian coffee and doughnut brand Tim Horton's. 3G Capital is still behind it.

General Electric (appliances)

General Electric Sign
Current owner: Haier, Chinese consumer and electronics company

For almost a century, General Electric appliances have been a mainstay for US customers, made even more unique by their "Made in America" badge.

However, this might change. The brand was purchased for $5.4 billion in 2016 by the world's largest appliance producer, the Chinese corporation Haier.

Trader Joe's

trader joes store manhattan
Roman Tiraspolsky / Shutterstock.com
Current owner: Aldi Nord, German discount supermarket chain

Trader Joe's began in 1967, when California-based convenience store entrepreneur Joe Coulombe decided to start carrying odd and discontinued items in order to compete with 7-Eleven.

The first Trader Joe's location in California is still open, although the company has since changed ownership. It was purchased in 1979 by Theo Albrecht, proprietor of the German supermarket chain Aldi Nord.


Current owner: Seven & i Holdings, Japanese retail group

We may praise Jefferson Green for convenience shops. According to the 7-Eleven corporate website, Green was a Southland Ice Company employee in 1927 when he began selling milk, bread, and eggs from the ice house on Sundays and holidays when everything else was closed. He dubbed his store 7-Eleven to reflect its hours of operation, which are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. This created the groundwork for today's 24-hour convenience shops.

Following the 1987 financial disaster, the firm was purchased by Ito-Yokado, a subsidiary of Seven & I Holdings, the store's current Japanese parent company.

Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn
Shutterstock/Jonathan Weiss
Current owner: InterContinental Hotels, British hotel company

Kemmons Wilson, a businessman, founded the first Holiday Inn in Memphis, Tennessee. Wilson had the concept while on a family trip to Washington, DC, when he discovered that there were no nice and cheap locations for families to stay. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) purchased his firm between 1988 and 1990, and IHG has been its parent company ever since.

Sunglass Hut

Sunglass Hut
Shutterstock/Heather Shimmin
Current owner: Luxottica Group, Italian eyewear company

Sunglass Hut originated in Miami in 1971, when ophthalmologist Sanford Ziff opened a kiosk in a mall. He has launched his 100th store by 1986. In 1991, the Ziff family sold their stake in the company.

Luxottica, an Italian eyeglasses firm, now owns the chain, which it purchased for $462 million in 2001.


jeepersmedia / Flickr
Current owner: Unilever, Dutch-British consumer goods company

Although the French invented mayonnaise, Hellman's is responsible for making it a standard condiment in most American homes. In 1905, German immigrant Richard Hellmann founded a delicatessen in New York City and discovered that his handmade sauce was so popular that he began selling it separately.

Best Foods, another West Coast mayonnaise seller, purchased the firm in 1932. Best Foods was purchased for $20.3 billion by consumer products company Unilever in 2000. The two brands continue to exist individually to this day. Hellmann's mayonnaise is available east of the Rockies, whereas Best Foods mayonnaise is available west of the Rockies.

American Apparel

American Apparel
Current owner: Gildan Activewear, Canadian clothing company

American Apparel, based in California, created a reputation for itself with its "Made in USA — Sweatshop Free" tagline, claiming to be the largest garment manufacturer in North America. This business strategy was successful for two decades, but in 2015, the company declared bankruptcy and spent two years attempting to recover.

Gildan, a Canadian apparel firm, paid $88 million for American Apparel's intellectual property rights and some of its production equipment in 2017.

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