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These All-American Brands Aren’t Actually American

US Steel was once the pride and joy of the United States and the most valuable company in the entire world. The 122-year-old company has agreed to be bought by Japanese firm Nippon Steel in a $14.1 billion deal.

But this isn’t the first instance of an international company snapping up a classic American brand. “All-American” companies like Jeep and Budweiser have some international flair, as do many other classic US brands. Here are some of the most notable examples:

GE appliances

Perhaps no company better embodies America’s trailblazing spirit than General Electric. The company was founded by legendary American inventor Thomas Edison.

But Americans with a GE microwave or washing machine in their homes may not realize that General Electric’s century-old appliance division is owned by Haier Group, based in Qingdao, China. Haier bought the division from General Electric for $5.6 billion in 2016, as General Electric’s business stalled and it looked to raise cash to chip away at a mountain of debt.

Haier is itself a major appliance seller in the United States, with its own products offered at US stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s.


Budweiser’s red and white cans and Bud Light’s blue cans are instantly recognizable to many Americans. Budweiser’s brewer, named Anheuser-Busch after the company’s founders, was created in the United States in 1879 and helped pioneer pasteurization technology that allowed beers to be shipped across the country without spoiling, according to its website.

But Budweiser’s parent company was acquired by European alcohol conglomerate InBev in 2008, forming a new company: AB InBev, based in Leuven, Belgium.

AB InBev also owns other well-known beer brands like Corona and Stella Artois.

Burger King

The current home of the Whopper is Toronto, Canada — kind of.

The seminal fast food chain, founded in Miami in 1954, has been part of Canadian conglomerate Restaurant Brands International for nearly a decade. RBI was formed in 2014 with a $12.5 billion merger between Burger King and Canada-based coffeehouse Tim Hortons. While RBI’s headquarters is in Toronto, Burger King’s functional headquarters remains in Miami.

Since RBI’s creation, it has snapped up two more popular food brands: Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen and Firehouse Subs.


With its classic Slurpee and Big Gulp beverages, 7-Eleven is one of America’s most recognizable convenience store chains. More than 13,000 7-Eleven stores operate in the US, making it one of the largest convenience store chains in the country. But there are even more 7-Eleven stores in Japan, according to the company. That’s because the corner store, founded in 1927 in Texas, is owned by Seven & I Holdings, a Japanese retailer based in Tokyo.

Seven & I officially became the sole owner of 7-Eleven in 2005, after Ito-Yokado, a unit of Seven & I, first bought a stake in the convenience store in 1991.

Trader Joe’s

California-based Trader Joe’s brands itself as a “national chain of neighborhood grocery stores.” But the grocery chain known for its private label goods and competitive prices is owned by the same German family that founded another well-known grocery store: Aldi.

Aldi, which was founded by brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht in 1946, was cleaved in half in the 1960s. One half of the Albrecht family owns Aldi Nord, while the other half owns Aldi Sud.

Trader Joe’s has been under Aldi Nord’s ownership since 1979, while Aldi-branded grocery stores in the US are owned by Aldi Sud, meaning the two chains have no business relationship.

Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge cars

The Jeep Wrangler was first introduced at the 1986 Chicago Auto Show, but its roots date back to World War II, when the US Army used an earlier version as a reconnaissance vehicle around battlefields, according to Jeep.

The famed model, with its rugged design and off-road capabilities, has had enduring appeal in America. But Jeep and its siblings Chrysler and Dodge have belonged to European companies since 2014, when Italian company Fiat Group acquired 100% ownership of Chrysler Group. In 2021, Fiat Chrysler Automotive Group, as it was then called, merged with French manufacturer PSA Group, creating Stellantis.

The Amsterdam-based auto giant is now the fourth-largest automaker in the world by volume and part of the Detroit “Big Three” automakers in the US.


Refrigerator appliance company Frigidaire is responsible for a lot of firsts in America: According to the company, it is the inventor of the first self-contained refrigerator and the first-ever home freezer, which it originally called the “ice cream cabinet.”

Frigidaire joins GE Appliances as a brand once owned by General Electric. The refrigerator maker was part of the Edison-founded conglomerate from 1919 to 1979. After brief ownership by White Consolidated Industries, Frigidaire was bought by Swedish multinational home appliance manufacturer Electrolux AB in 1986 — and it has remained in its ownership ever since.

Ben & Jerry’s

Ben & Jerry’s is best known for its quirky ice cream flavors with pun-filled names like “Cherry Garcia” and “Phish Food.” The ice cream company, which was founded in 1978 by school friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in a converted Vermont gas station, was acquired by British conglomerate Unilever in 2000. That means the sweet treat shares a home with consumer goods like Axe Body Spray and Vaseline.

One company that is American…

While many brands with international owners may seek to highlight their American roots, at least one of Ben & Jerry’s competitors decided on a different route. Häagen-Dazs was cooked up by Polish immigrants Reuben and Rose Mattus in 1960 in the Bronx, New York. The couple invented a made-up Danish-sounding name for the brand, likely adding an air of mystery to the ice cream makers’ origins in the decades since.

Source : CNN