By Erin Griffith
June 8, 2015

The Fortune 500, our annual ranking of the largest U.S. companies, has been in a constant state of flux since the first one was published in 1955. This year is no different, and surely by 2025, plenty of companies we’ve barely heard of will knock stalwarts and industry incumbents from the list.

We could easily speculate as to which hot startups and fast-growing businesses are destined to join the Fortune 500 in the next decade. We could even pull directly from our annual fastest-growing public companies list, which last year was dominated by the shale, financial services and housing/real estate sectors.

But our speculation would be just that. Rather than take wild guesses, we’ve turned to data. The following list takes the average compound annual growth rate, or CAGR, over the last five years for the Fortune 500 and uses that figure to extrapolate each company’s growth for the next 10 years. Assuming that past growth equals future growth is not a perfect methodology. (For example, our top pick, Energy Transfer Equity, has grown thanks to an $18 billion acquisition that it will likely take years to absorb and not be repeated.) Beyond that, one has to assume there are limits to how much a company can grow. The first six companies on our “Fortune 500 of 2025” list have projected revenues of more than $1 trillion. That’s more than double the 2014 revenue of Wal-Mart, the No. 1 Fortune 500 company on this year’s list, and feels like a bit of a stretch. Still, it’s a fun thought exercise.

 

The list is notably dominated by what’s thought of as the four horsemen of the tech industry: Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Google. Even though they’re all large, maturing businesses, they have continued to roll out new products, acquire exciting startups, and push into new lines of business at an aggressive pace. Their revenue growth reflects that.

And if you’re reading this from the year 2025, feel free to let us know how wrong we were.

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