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The Forbes 500 was an annual listing of the top 500 American companies produced by Forbes Magazine. The list was calculated by combining five factors: sales, profits, assets, market value, and employees. The list was last issued in March 2003 (based on 2002 data for the companies); it is no longer calculated each year and has been replaced by the Forbes Global 2000, which includes non-U.S. companies but is calculated on a similar basis as the old Forbes 500 (although it does not include employees). Quantifiying the largest companies Different methods exist to determine the largest corporations. Forbes use a balance of the profit, revenue, market capitalization and value of assets of corporations. The size of any one of these factors is not indicative of the size of any other factor. The value of the assets is indicated through the ability to generate cash through their ownership or control. Banks tend to have large assets (loans are assets). When looking at profit a company like Goldman Sachs, which has 35,400 employees is of equal size with wallmart which has 2.1 Million employees and has many tangible assets. Fortune 500 ranks companies by revenue. This method is heavily biased towards distributors such as Walmart, which may have a high volume of sales but may be operating on very thin profit margins. Another method might be to look at the market capitalization of the company. However, this price is dictated by the perceived value of the company and its prospects. Thus, in the late nineties, Cisco Systems would have been the biggest company by this measure. When the dot-com bubble crashed, Cisco's perceived value changed dramatically. See also Forbes Global 2000 Fortune 500 List of companies by revenue List of corporations by market capitalization External links Official homepage