Publix Supermarket Chain Is Privately Owned With No IPO Plans

The Publix supermarket chain isn't a publicly-traded company and employees own the controlling stake. Can investors get access to the company?

Kathryn Underwood - Author

Feb. 17 2021, Updated 7:09 a.m. ET

Publix supermarket
Source: Getty

Publix, a chain of supermarkets located in seven southeastern states, isn't a publicly-traded company. Instead, it's privately owned with stock only available to current employees and board members. The company takes pride in calling itself the largest employee-owned company in the U.S. 

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Publix has over 1,200 store locations. The company started in the 1930s and has grown to employ over 225,000 people. 

publix grocery store
Source: Publix Facebook
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Why customers are boycotting Publix in Florida

Recently, there was news that a member of Publix's founding Jenkins family donated $300,000 to a Trump rally, which resulted in backlash. The rally that immediately preceded the Jan.6 storming of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. has loyal Publix customers boycotting the stores in Florida. 

Wendy Mize is a 57-year-old lifelong customer of Publix supermarkets. She has enjoyed the perks for parents and pet owners over the years. She is one customer who's choosing to avoid Publix stores after learning that a Jenkins family member made such a large donation to support the rally that led to election-related violence. 

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In The Guardian, Mize said that since Publix is a private company, it's "their business how they want to contribute their money, but it’s also my right to decide where I want to spend my dollars." 

The recent donation to a Trump rally isn't the only instance of a Jenkins family member making donations to a partisan or conservative cause. Julie Jenkins Fancelli, the daughter of Publix's founder, donated $2 million to the Trump re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to The Guardian

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Another political issue with Publix occurred when it donated $100,000 to a political action committee for the DeSantis 2022 re-election campaign. Not long after that, Publix received an exclusive contract for COVID-19 vaccine distribution in its stores, which resulted in immediate public disapproval. Later, the governor added other retailers like Winn Dixie and Walmart to the vaccine rollout plan. 

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Kroger doesn't own Publix

No, competing grocery chain Kroger doesn't own Publix. Publix was founded in 1930 and has remained a privately-owned company. 

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publix private company
Source: Unsplash

Is Publix a publicly-traded company?

Publix doesn't trade publicly on any stock exchange. The stock is only available to Publix associates and current members of its board of directors. 

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Publix doesn't have any IPO plans

Publix hasn't shown any serious interest in pursuing an IPO. Part of the chain’s appeal to customers has been its reputation for excellent customer service. Employees might be more loyal to the company since they are the controlling shareholders. 

Who owns Publix stock?

Publix stock is 80 percent owned by Publix employees and current board members. The Jenkins family, which includes several generations descended from the company's founder, owns about 20 percent of the company, according to Forbes

How to invest in Publix

The only way someone can buy shares in Publix is to be an employee or member of the board of directors. As of May 1, 2020, the company said that its stock price had increased from $48.90 to $50.10 per share


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