Special offer

Wednesday 9/27/23 is for Wondermonger

Real Estate Agent with DFW FINE PROPERTIES 0506509

As an MBA Graduate Student at the University of Dallas, I read many books. Most of them I sold back to the University's Book Store. But after graduation in December 2002, some books were keepers that I could not part with. One book was "Creative Destruction," Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market - and How to Successfully Transform Them, by Richard Foster and Sarah Kaplan, published and copyrighted in 2001. Periodically, I hear about a company; then look them up in my Creative Destruction book. 

The premise for the book was about survival of the fittest of some of the most famous and richest companies in America. The result of analytic work, lasted over a decade long research project, to understand long-term company performance, by colleagues at McKinsey & Company. The authors kept in mind a warning by Winston Churchill, "The farther backward you look, the farther forward you can see." 

Over time, I have read a lot of books and observed the success and failure of many people in real estate, including some of the most famous companies in America. It may or may or may not surprise you at all, that many household names of companies and products are no longer American owned. While many Americans were living the dream, many dream maker's dissolved and sold out to other countries making them very wealthy and powerful. A lot has happened since 2001 and the years of the pandemic. Here are just a few well-known companies that have changed over time to bring to your attention:

Trader Joe's - first store opened in 1967 in Monrovia, CA. Today, it is no longer American owned. It belongs to the Aldi Nord Group, a German multinational family-owned business.

Sunglass Hut - first opened in 1986 in Miami FL. Since 2001, it is now owned by the Italian eyewear conglomerate Luxotti Group.

Citco - once American dating back to 1910. Now completely owned by a Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company.

Holiday Inn - began its history in 1952. Since 1980 it has been owned by the English, bought by the Intercontinental Hotels Group.

Hellmann's - American? Nope! Hellman's was bought out by British multinational consumer goods company Unilever who also owns Dove and Ben & Jerry's.

Vaseline - American product Founded in 1859 but Unilever (British) owns it now!

Gerber - American babies were raised by Gerber, a household American Institution. It is now owned by Nestle. Nestle is owned by shareholders from the Vanguard Group, of which BlackRock is the largest asset manager. 

Tiffany & Co. - As American as Apple Pie, Tiffany began in 1837 in New York. In 2020 Louis Vuitton changed all that when Tiffany's was sold for $15.8 billion. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers - If you still think it is an American basketball team, you're wrong. Jianhua Huang, a Chinese Investor bought 15% stake in 2009.

Chrysler - Began in 1925 on American soil but since 1998, the lucky owner is Daimler-Benz of Germany, headquartered in Amsterdam. 

Universal Music Group, Sony Music, and Warner Music Group - American? Not anymore. A Chinese company Tencent owns 20%; a British investment trust Pershing Square holdings owns 10%.

Popsicle - the childhood dream of an 11-year-old Oakland, CA native quickly became a household name for every family in America. It has been sold over the many years and is now a British-Dutch owned creation. 

Ben & Jerry's - an instant success from Vermont in 1978 but it melted over time to boost the economy for Univer's, a London-based conglomerate.

Burger King - Miami, FL created instant success with fast food favorite Burger King in 1954. As of 2020, the Burger King's crown belongs to a Canadian company Restaurant Brands International. 

American Apparel - "Made in USA" from Los Angeles, CA made a deal in 2017 and the Canadian company Gildan Activewear is rolling in 'dough'.

7-Eleven - American? Nope! Japanese company Ito-Yokado bought it in 1987. 

Forbes - The first issue began in 1917. Too bad. It is no longer an American Company. In 2014, Hong Kong gobbled it up and owns it now.

Dirt Devil - Invented in 1905 in Cleveland, OH. The little devil was a popular gift for Bridal showers, College Students, Mother's Day, etc. Sure! It remains in NC, but it is no longer American but a proud Chinese company.

Good Humor - Began in the 1920's in Youngstown, OH. Since 1961 it was bought out by Thomas J. Lipton of Unilever.

Firestone - Harvey S. Firestone, a 4th generation farmer from Akron, OH founded Firestone Tire & Rubber Company in 1900. Things changed in 1988 when Firestone sold to the Tokyo-based company called Bridgestone. 

General Electric - Sparks started in 1892 and many people bought GE products and owned stock on their "Made in America Stamp." That is, until 2016. GE sold its Appliances division to the Chinese for $5.4 billion. Note, in the Chapter called "The Game of Creative Destruction," the database did not track "complex" companies like General Electric.

Motorola - Founded in 1928 long before cell phones. Headquarters: Schaumburg, IL. Sold to Google and purchased in 2014 from Google to the Chinese company Lenovo. Note, when "Creative Destruction" was published, Motorola was considered a leader when it introduced cellular technology and a wide range of products.

IBM - Since 1911 IBM has been the Kingpin of technology. In 2004, the PC division was sold for $1.75 billion to Lenovo, Chinese company. Note, "Creative Destruction," made reference to IBM, crediting IBM with domination in the 1960 and 70's, as a time of substantial innovation. But conditions changed for IBM due to competition with Apple and DEC who challenged IBM. 

Hoover - Ohio, 1908. Iconic! But in 2006 the company belongs to Hong Kong and the headquarters form Ohio is located in North Carolina.

Frigidaire - Fort Wayne, Indiana - as American as it gets since 1918 has changed money hands many times over. Owned by White Sewing Machine Co, it was later bought by Sweden's Electrolux in 1986. 

Alka-Seltzer - Dr. Miles Medicine Company started the brand in 1931 in Elkart, IN. Sold in 1978 to German Company Bayer. In 2004, Bayer partnered with GlaxoSmithKline on a joint campaign. 

The Chrysler Building - Headquarters: New York City, NY, built in 1928. Long gone after lots of history, it sold in 2008 to the Abu Dhabi Investment Council paying $800 million for majority ownership, but ended up selling to Austrian Company Signa a decade later.

Amazon - In "Creative Destruction," Amazon.com was used as a prime example of competition against Barnes & Noble. "How could Amazon, a start-up company with a few resources, compete with established superstore chain Barnes & Noble?" Note, have you read the headlines news dated 9/27/2023, " US Government, States File Lawsuit Against Amazon for Monopolistic Practices," the lawsuit "alleges the company degrades the overall online retail economy through harsh anticompetitive tactics." 

In sum: As the world turns global, one has to wonder, does traditional ways of doing business eventually come to an end? Who will survive? Who will fail and who will take over? Does resilience last? When it comes to business, there is always risk and failure, newer, innovative technology, younger people getting into traditional business and many beginning new start-ups too. We can all learn a thing or two from name brand companies who failed and succeeded. As Henry Ford once said, "Failure is only an opportunity to begin again more intelligently." 

Posted by

Texas Law requires all license holders to provide the Information about Brokerage Services form to prospective clients.


dfw fine properties


Email Me


MBA (University of Dallas)
(Bachelors of Arts & Science)
Paralegal (Southeastern Career Institute)
Associates (3) (College of Lake County)
KU (University of Kansas)


CRS (Certified Residential Specialist)
SRES (Certified Senior Residential Specialist)
PSA (Certified Pricing Strategies; Mastering the CMA)
CRS (Certified Military Relocation Specialist)
RENE (Real Estte Negotitions Expert)

"With self-discipline most anything is possible." --- Theodore Roosevelt 






Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Patricia... this is an age-old question. What saddened me most was the number of great American brands that were purchased by the Chinese.

Sep 27, 2023 05:36 AM
Patricia Feager, ABR,CRS,GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Nina Hollander, Broker - no matter how big, great, or profitable a company is, no business owner(s) can be based on the assumption of continuity. 

Sep 27, 2023 06:31 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP there are no guarantees in life... for people, for companies, etc. 

Sep 27, 2023 06:40 AM
Patricia Feager, ABR,CRS,GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Nina Hollander, Broker - and that's the truth. I've know that about "no guarantees," since I was a child. 

Sep 27, 2023 06:49 AM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
The Grit and Gratitude Agent

Your very detailed article provides an example of the Achilles Heel in capitalism.  As well as greed overtakes loyalty to one's country.

Sep 27, 2023 07:07 AM
Patricia Feager, ABR,CRS,GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Leanne Smith - that you for the perfect comment. Any time there is poor leadership and dirty money, there are consequences. 

Once I had a Financial Advisor. Every time I met with him for advice, he would grin and laugh and say, everyone is motivated by geed. One day, I had enough, I closed my account with him and never regretted my decision. 

Sep 27, 2023 07:30 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for sharing this interesting list of companies and their ownership changes.

Sep 27, 2023 07:52 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Another change...

After Chrysler posted a loss of $1.5 billion in 2006, Daimler cut it loose, selling the Chrysler Group to the American private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management in 2007. The new firm was named Chrysler LLC.

Chrysler is currently owned by Stellantis, a multinational automaker. Stellantis also distributes Dodge, Jeep, and Ram-branded automobiles. In 2021 Italian American automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the French automaker PSA Group (Peugeot Société Anonyme) merged into Stellantis.


Sep 27, 2023 07:56 AM
Patricia Feager, ABR,CRS,GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Roy Kelley - thank you! I found some information about Chrysler but not as much as you did! Chrysler is a good company to do research on. There is a long history and money trail with Chrysler!

I appreciate that you took the time to fill in the gaps in your great comment! Thank you!

Sep 27, 2023 08:01 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Patricia,

Thank you for all your research its quite revealing. At some point the offer of riches beyond comprehension take over. Its such a shame the Chinese own so many companies and so munch land in the US!

Sep 27, 2023 04:41 PM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I think that greed foils most big companies but then sadly the government bails them out even though they don't deserve it, haha.  The companies that should survive, in my opinion, are those that are doing the right things for consumers, as well as their employees.  Those are the types of companies that the government should support, not the ones where the top executives are reaping most of the benefits.

Sep 28, 2023 04:32 AM
Patricia Feager, ABR,CRS,GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Dorie Dillard Austin TX - we the people need to pay attention more. Read credible newspaper articles and do more research. Listening to the Media is often just a cheap way to pick up propaganda without knowing true facts. Every time a business closes, we need to ask why, and do a deeper dive ourselves. The writing is always on the wall. We need to do more than complain or ignore. 

Sep 28, 2023 04:57 AM
Patricia Feager, ABR,CRS,GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Brian England - being a consumer advocate for the right reasons, pays in dividends. Complaining is a form of ignorance. Know the issues, listen, and learn. Be the best we can be taking the high road. 

Sep 28, 2023 05:01 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Patricia some of those companies were as American as American pie.  I should not be surprised they are no longer American companies.

Sep 28, 2023 11:55 AM