Special Report

America's Great Shrinking Companies

1. ConocoPhillips

Over the last five years, ConocoPhillips’ (NYSE: COP) revenue has shrunk by more than $116 billion, from just over $177 billion to just over $60 billion. Ironically, ConocoPhillips may have first begun to shrink with its 2006 acquisition of  Burlington Resources for $35.6 billion, which it bought with the intention of becoming the nation’s largest natural gas producer. This move backfired, however, as natural gas prices sank. In recent years, ConocoPhillips began to sell assets, spinning-off its refining and pipeline business in 2012 into a new company, Phillips 66. Along with the spin-off went much of ConocoPhillips’ revenue — Phillips 66 generated over $166 million in revenue in 2012.

Also Read: Ten Brands That Will Disappear in 2014

2. Marathon Oil Corporation

Similar to ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil’s (NYSE: MRO)contraction was the result of the spin-off of its refining operations, forming Marathon Petroleum in mid 2011. This cost the oil giant a massive chunk of its revenues. The company’s revenue was less than $16 billion in 2012, down from nearly $72 billion four years prior. In 2012, Marathon Petroleum’s revenue was nearly $77 billion, and it also spun off some of its operations into a master limited partnership (MLP). Such MLPs are becoming increasingly more popular in the energy industry and among investors because they offer favorable tax benefits.

3. Ford Motor Co.

Ford was the only one of the Big Three automakers which made it through the massive restructuring of the American car industry without a federal bailout. However, the company was undeniably damaged by the recession. In the U.S., Ford sold light cars and trucks at an annualized rate of more than 16 million for much of 2006 and 2007. But by early 2009, sales had plunged to a rate of barely more than 9 million vehicles per year. Although sales have recovered somewhat in the U.S., the company’s business has continued to struggle in Europe, where new vehicle sales have dropped by nearly 10% through the first half of the year.

4. Motorola Solutions, Inc.

As recently as 2007, Motorola was still the world’s second-largest mobile phone company by sales, with more than 164 million phones sold that year and a 14.3% share of the market. But as Apple and Android based devices continued to become more and more popular, Motorola’s market share was wiped away, falling to less than 2% in 2012. In early 2011, Motorola announced the long-anticipated split of the company’s operations. It separated the business solutions functions from the consumer-facing mobile phones segment into two separate companies, Motorola Solutions (NYSE: MSI) and Motorola Mobility. While Motorola Mobility survived only briefly as a standalone company before being acquired by Google, Motorola Solutions has managed to grow both its sales and become profitable since the split.

5. General Electric Company

General Electric finally closed the deal to sell a 51% controlling stake in NBCUniversal to Comcast in early 2011, more than a year after a deal had first been announced. In the previous fiscal year, NBC Universal had accounted for nearly 17 billion of the conglomerate’s total revenue. The deal gave Comcast majority ownership of NBC, as well as ownership of Universal Studios. Still, part of NBC Universal remained under GE ownership until earlier this year, when the company sold the remaining 49% of its stake to Comcast.

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