Chevrolets, Cheerwine, turkey legs and solar panels are some of the products powering the state’s biggest closely held enterprises.
Welcome to Business North Carolina’s annual list of the state’s largest privately held companies. For more than 30 years, similar lists have showcased the hometown businesses that sustain North Carolina’s economy, often with little or no fanfare.
Most of the information on the list comes directly from the companies. For a second consecutive year, the list also includes our best estimates for revenues and employment at some businesses that didn’t want to share the basics. It took many phone calls and emails to compile what is an unparalleled look at North Carolina’s private-company universe.
This year’s list is based on 2019 revenue. Hence, it reflects the pre-COVID-19 environment that virtually everyone hopes will return as soon as possible. The most notable newcomer is Cary-based Epic Games, which ranks No. 3 after enjoying explosive growth because of the popularity of its Fortnite video game.
Private equity-controlled companies whose operations are based in North Carolina are eligible for the list. An example is newcomer Segra, a Charlotte-based telecommunications provider owned by a large Swedish investment group. It bought High Point-based North State Telecommunications this year.
But the list is mostly companies owned by families that have operated in North Carolina for decades, if not generations. To say they are the backbone of the Tar Heel economy is an understatement.
Since 1993, the principals of Ridgemont Equity Partners have invested over $5 billion in 154 companies. Ridgemont is the largest private equity firm in North Carolina and among the largest in the Southeast. The firm was named to Inc.’s inaugural list of “Top 50 Founder-Friendly Private Equity Firms,” which recognized Ridgemont for a track record of building leading middle market companies alongside entrepreneurs.
For the second year in a row, we are pleased to sponsor Business North Carolina’s “Top 125 Private Companies” list and wish to congratulate the honorees! For more information on Ridgemont’s team and investment strategy, visit www.ridgemontep.com.
We back management teams. These are not just financial relationships – these partnerships require complete alignment in vision for the future of the business and mutual trust in each other’s capabilities. From the first 100-day plan, to geographic and product expansion, to investments in technology; and, most importantly, alignment in the culture of the business and investments in the employee base.
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