September 24, 2020
If you subscribe to the old saying that the three most important things in real estate are location, location, location, then for publicly traded companies, New York, California and Texas can’t be beat. In fact, those three states combined are home to nearly one-third of the Fortune 500 headquarters.
Whether it’s for tax reasons, access to a critical mass of skilled workers, a healthy number of local colleges and universities, proximity to innovation hubs or other synergistic enterprises, or some combination of all these factors, large publicly traded companies are clustered in relatively few states. Meanwhile, 14 states from Mississippi to Alaska have no corporate headquarters whatsoever on that annual list. Let’s take a look at some of those states where corporations have set up shop.
New York: The Empire State is home to 54 of the Fortune 500s, making it the state of choice for major corporations. With New York City being the mecca for all things media, fashion and finance-related, it’s no surprise that financial services firms, beauty and media conglomerates make up a good chunk of the public companies headquartered there. New York corporations behind popular brands outside of these well-represented industries include PepsiCo Inc. (Tii:PEP), Pfizer Inc. (Tii:PFE), Colgate-Palmolive Co. (Tii:CL) and JetBlue Airways (Tii:JBLU).
California: Narrowly edged out by New York, 53 of the Fortune 500s are located in the Golden State. Being home to Silicon Valley, it's no surprise that Apple Inc. (Tii:AAPL), Google’s parent, Alphabet Inc. (Tii:GOOG) and Facebook Inc. (Tii:FB), have set up shop here. It's also a no-brainer that entertainment and media giant Walt Disney Co. (Tii:DIS) is among the large corporations making homes here. Somewhat surprising residents include discount store operator Ross Stores, Inc. (Tii:ROST), Clorox Co. (Tii:CLX) and software giant Adobe Inc. (Tii:ADBE).
Texas: Placing third in a very close race is the Lone Star State with 50 Fortune 500 corporations. It's not surprising that oil giants Exxon Mobil Corp. (Tii:XOM), ConocoPhillips (Tii:COP) and Phillips 66 (Tii:PSX) are among the largest public companies in the state. And while oil will always have a strong presence in Texas, newer, tech-related industries have made their homes here, led by Dell Technologies Inc. (Tii:DELL), AT&T Inc. (Tii:T) and GameStop Corp. (Tii:GME).
Illinois: The Prairie State has 37 of the Fortune 500 company headquarters. Leading the way is Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Tii:WBA), the parent company of Walgreens pharmacy store chain and Boots, a health and beauty retailer and pharmacy chain. Illinois is also home to heavy equipment makers Caterpillar Inc. (Tii:CAT) and Deere & Co. (Tii:DE), consumer brand giants McDonald's Corp. (MCD), Kraft Heinz Co. (Tii:KHC), and beauty store chain Ulta Beauty, Inc. (Tii:ULTA).
Ohio: Don’t tell Michigan residents this, but the Buckeye State dominates the Wolverines when it comes to Fortune 500 headquarters with 27 (Michigan tied with New Jersey and Massachusetts for 11th place with 17). Cardinal Health, Inc. (Tii:CAH) led the way as the largest public company here, followed by Marathon Petroleum Corp. (Tii:MPC) and The Kroger Co. (Tii:KR). Bank holding company Huntington Bancshares Inc. (Tii:HBAN) barely made the cut, coming in precisely at 500.