Tesla and 19 Companies Join the Fortune 500 for the First Time

June 7, 2017, 6:14 PM UTC

What does it take to be in the Fortune 500? The 20 companies that made the list for the first time this year offer insight into that question.

Besides clearing this year’s bar of at least $5.1 billion in annual revenue, the companies in the Fortune 500 freshman class come from widely disparate backgrounds and took many different paths to arrive to the list.

Six of the 20 newbies were the result of recent splits or spinoffs. Three were founded more than 100 years ago but have only now made it to the big leagues. And two others were created just last year.

Of course, to make room for the rookies, others had to drop off: 15 companies fell from the Fortune 500 this year, while a handful of others—from Baxalta to Time Warner Cable—were acquired by other companies and no longer exist as independent entities.

From Elon Musk’s groundbreaking electric car company Tesla to a company that was bending aluminum almost a century before Musk was born (that’d be Alcoa), meet the newest additions to the Fortune 500 list.

1. Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Fortune 500 Rank: 59
2016 Revenue: $50.1 billion
Revenue Increase: N/A

When Hewlett-Packard split into two in 2015, CEO Meg Whitman went to run the faster-growing and more profitable data center and cloud services business, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Now that company debuts on the list two spots above its other half HP (HPQ), which continues to sell its well-known personal computers and printers.

2. Synchrony Financial

Fortune 500 Rank: 185
2016 Revenue: $15.1 billion
Revenue Increase: 11%

Spun off from General Electric (GE) in 2015 after GE announced it would get out of the banking business, Synchrony Financial (SYF) provides store-branded credit cards for retailers such as J.C. Penney (JCP) and more. It lands on the list at No. 185.

3. Alcoa

Fortune 500 Rank: 300
2016 Revenue: $9.3 billion
Revenue Increase: N/A

Producing aluminum since 1888, Alcoa (AA) has appeared on the list before as a more diversified mining and materials company. But Alcoa’s core smelting and aluminum refining business was spun off last year from the parent company, now called Arconic (ARNC) (It’s at No. 228 on the Fortune 500.)

4. Tesla Motors

Fortune 500 Rank: 383
2016 Revenue: $7 billion
Revenue Increase: 73%

Elon Musk’s electric car startup finally made the cut after growing sales a whopping 73% last year. (Tesla has China to thank for some of that growth; to read more, see writer Scott Cendrowski’s feature in the June 15, 2017 issue of the magazine, “Tesla Takes Off in China.”) Yet while it’s worth more than both General Motors (GM) and Ford (F) in stock market value, Tesla (TSLA) still makes far less in sales than the traditional automakers, and therefore is ranked much lower on the list. It debuts at No. 383. (GM is at No. 8; Ford at No. 10.)

5. Ascena Retail

Fortune 500 Rank: 384
2016 Revenue: $7 billion
Revenue Increase: 45.6%

The owner of women’s clothing chains including Dressbarn and Lane Bryant, Ascena Retail (ASNA) grew sales nearly 46% last year after it acquired Ann Taylor (and the affiliated Loft) early in fiscal 2016.

6. Nvidia

Fortune 500 Rank: 387
2016 Revenue: $6.9 billion
Revenue Increase: 37.9%

The maker of graphics chips used in everything from Apple (AAPL) computers to Tesla’s self-driving car technology, Nvidia (NVDA) is enjoying blockbuster demand for its products. After just missing the Fortune 500 cutoff last year, Nvidia grew sales roughly 38% last year to appear on the list, with help from a burgeoning Internet-of-things industry and the increasing popularity of smart mobile devices.

7. Yum China Holdings

Fortune 500 Rank: 399
2016 Revenue: $6.8 billion
Revenue Increase: N/A

The owner of fast-food chains KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut, Yum Brands (YUM) spun off its China business last year at the behest of Corvex hedge fund manager and Carl Icahn protégé Keith Meister. Yum China Holdings (YUMC) arrives on this year’s Fortune 500 at No. 399, higher than its parent company Yum Brands, which sits at No. 422.

8. Activision Blizzard

Fortune 500 Rank: 406
2016 Revenue: $6.6 billion
Revenue Increase: 41.7%

Spun off from Vivendi in 2013, entertainment and gaming company Activision Blizzard (ATVI) had an eventful 2016. The maker of cult video games including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft grew sales nearly 42% as its CEO Bobby Kotick showed up on the arm of another prominent executive, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. (For more, read the feature on the company in the new issue of Fortune magazine, “Activision Blizzard Aims for the Big Leagues.“)

9. Berry Global Group

Fortune 500 Rank: 413
2016 Revenue: $6.5 billion
Revenue Increase: 32.9%

Plastic packaging manufacturer Berry Global Group (BERY) catapulted on to the list by growing revenues about 33% last year. Most of that growth came from its acquisition of Avintiv, a manufacturer of polymers for diapers and other health and hygiene products.

10. Builders FirstSource

Fortune 500 Rank: 421
2016 Revenue: $6.4 billion
Revenue Increase: 78.6%

The Dallas-based supplier of homebuilding products and components grew large enough for the Fortune 500 after its 2015 acquisition of rival ProBuild, which had several times more revenue than Builders FirstSource (BLDR) at the time.

11. TreeHouse Foods

Fortune 500 Rank: 427
2016 Revenue: $6.2 billion
Revenue Increase: 92.6%

A maker of specialty foods from jams and salad dressings to trail mix, Tree House Foods (THS) traces its roots back 155 years, to 1862. Spun off from Dean Foods in 2011, TreeHouse almost doubled its revenue last year when it bought a private-label grocery business from ConAgra (CAG) in 2016.

12. Intercontinental Exchange

Fortune 500 Rank: 437
2016 Revenue: $6 billion
Revenue Increase: 27.3%

After its takeover of the New York Stock Exchange in 2013, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has continued on an acquisition spree, which helped it grow sales more than 27% last year—just the boost it needed to help it break into the Fortune 500.

13. Adobe Systems

Fortune 500 Rank: 443
2016 Revenue: $5.9 billion
Revenue Increase: 22.1%

You could call Adobe Systems (ADBE) late bloomer. It created its signature Photoshop photo editing suite in 1988, but the software company is just now finally taking its turn in the Fortune 500. The company’s 22% increase in revenue last year makes it big enough to make the cut.

14. American Tower

Fortune 500 Rank: 449
2016 Revenue: $5.8 billion
Revenue Increase: 21.3%

Cell phone tower operator American Tower, now a real estate investment trust, increased its revenue more than 21% last year as acquisitions helped expand its footprint. Business in Latin America and Europe helped drive growth.

15. Patterson

Fortune 500 Rank: 466
2016 Revenue: $5.6 billion
Revenue Increase: 27%

Founded in 1877, dental and veterinary supplies company Patterson (PDCO) debuts on the Fortune 500 a mere 140 years later. Why now? The company grew revenue 27% in 2016 as the popularity of companion pets in the U.S. helped double sales for its animal health business. Earlier this month, Patterson CEO Scott Anderson announced he would step down.

16. AmTrust Financial

Fortune 500 Rank: 475
2016 Revenue: $5.5 billion
Revenue Increase: 18.1%

The property and casualty insurer AmTrust Financial (AFSI) landed on the Fortune 500 after achieving record sales in 2016. Collecting higher premiums helped, but AmTrust also received a windfall from the rising stock market, which resulted in 33% more investment income than the year before.

17. Chemours

Fortune 500 Rank: 482
2016 Revenue: $5.4 billion
Revenue Increase: N/A

Spun off from DuPont (DD) in summer 2015 amid pressure from activist investor Nelson Peltz, specialty chemical company Chemours arrives to the Fortune 500 after its first full year as a standalone company. Though Chemours (CC) stock initially stumbled out of the gate, it rallied with a vengeance in the latter part of 2016, finishing the year with a 317% return.

18. Liberty Media

Fortune 500 Rank: 491
2016 Revenue: $5.3 billion
Revenue Increase: 10%

The entertainment company founded by John Malone has had many different incarnations over the years thanks to various mergers and spinoffs. Liberty Media (LSXMA) now derives the lion’s share of its revenue from its main subsidiary SiriusXM, whose growth fueled the company’s appearance on this year’s Fortune 500.

19. Michaels Cos.

Fortune 500 Rank: 496
2016 Revenue: $5.2 billion
Revenue Increase: 5.8%

The arts and crafts retailer Michaels Cos. (MIK) caters to the trend in do-it-yourself projects and decorating. It narrowly made the Fortune 500 cut after acquiring a wholesale craft supplier in 2016 and opening more than 30 new stores, which together gave it enough extra revenue to counter declines at its existing locations.

20. Vistra Energy

Fortune 500 Rank: 499
2016 Revenue: $5.2 billion
Revenue Increase: N/A

With its parent company in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Vistra Energy escaped the proceedings through a spin-off last year. Formerly known as TCEH Corp. before the transaction, Vistra edged past the threshold of the Fortune 500 list this year, ranked at No. 499.

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