Today at 8:30 a.m., we will launch our 61st annual Fortune 500 list – a ranking of the largest public companies in the U.S., by revenues. Here are five facts about that list that may surprise you:
- The Fortune 500 are more important than ever before. Their revenues total 72% of U.S. GDP, up from 58% in 1995 and 35% in 1955. Size matters, more than ever.
- The rapid pace of technological change is their number one challenge. We know, because we surveyed the CEOs. Technological change ranked higher than cybersecurity, increased regulation, shareholder activism, shortage of skilled workers, and other popular bogeymen.
- 57% of the companies on the list weren’t there twenty years ago. That compares to a 45% turnover in the first twenty years of the list, from 1955 to 1975.
- 82% of the CEOs say they will add workers in the next two years. Lets hope they mean it.
- 84% of the CEOs say it would be easier to manage their company if it were private. They think the public markets are a drag.
And here’s a bonus fact: We asked the CEOs to name the Fortune 500 CEO other than themselves that they admired most. Top mentions: Tim Cook of Apple and Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan.
You can read more here. Enjoy Fortune 500 day.
• Dish in merger talks with T-Mobile
Dish Network is reportedly in talks to merge with T-Mobile US, a deal that would be the latest in a wave of consolidation across the U.S. media and communications industries. Tough questions remain about a purchase price and how the deal would be structured in terms of cash and stock, WSJ reports, citing one person who characterized the talks as in “the formative stage.” WSJ (subscription required)
• Alibaba Pictures to raise $1.6 billion
The film and entertainment unit of China’s largest e-commerce company plans to raise $1.6 billion in a share offering to finance media-related acquisitions. The deal comes after a rally that nearly doubled the shares of the company, which is majority owned by Alibaba Group. The unit, which has faced a recent accounting scandal, has been binge buying to expand into media content. Reuters
• Uber CEO outlines rosy future
Ride-sharing startup Uber CEO Travis Kalanick defended his company against regulators who are trying to shut the service down in various U.S. cities and overseas. “Don’t deprive people of this service because of outdated regulations,” he argued as Uber celebrates the company’s fifth anniversary. Kalanick also acknowledged that he’s not perfect. While he’s a fierce advocate for Uber, he acknowledged that many would rather call him a different word that starts with “a.” Fortune
• Cable providers get more power
Comcast and other cable providers can raise rates without approval from local governments under a change adopted by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. State, cities and other localities lost oversight of basic programming packages, an agency official told Bloomberg. Bloomberg
Around the Water Cooler
• Wal-Mart to relax dress code
Wal-Mart, which last year generated headlines when it updated its dress code, is now relaxing its standards and raising the temperatures at its stores to improve working conditions. The effort is the latest by the world’s largest retailer to address workplace concerns, including a plan Wal-Mart announced earlier this year to raise hourly rates for employees paid a minimum wage. Reuters
• Non-compete agreements in the hot seat
Two Senate Democrats are seeking a ban on non-compete agreements for low-wage workers, sponsoring potential legislation that would prohibit their use for those that earn a low pay. The Senators said the bill would allow workers “stuck in low-wage positions” seek higher paying jobs without fear that their current employer will take legal action against them. Fortune
• Why employers are paying for college
More major employers, including health insurer Anthem and coffee giant Starbucks, have recently unveiled free tuition programs for their employees. The programs can be a win for both employer and employee: workers could potentially get promotions and employers get a better-skilled workforce. But there are risks. Promotions can’t be guaranteed, firms can’t be sure new grads won’t leave for other jobs, and some students might not even complete the program. Bloomberg
5 things to know today
Dish/T-Mobile and NBA finals — five things to know today. Today’s story can be found here.