Aldi is the fastest-growing grocer in the United States. The Germany-based company is adding thousands of new stores on top of a multi-billion dollar expansion of existing stores, and it is expected to be the third-largest grocery chain in the United States. This doesn’t even include the company’s growth into other countries, including, most recently, China.
With a company growing that fast, there may be people who wonder if it’s possible to invest in Aldi. Does Aldi sell stock? And, if so, how do you get it?
Before we continue, it’s important to understand that Aldi is, in fact, two companies. The two companies, Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd, were created in the 1960s after the founders of Aldi, Theo and Karl Albrecht, couldn’t agree on some of their business decisions. Although Nord and Süd are separate entities, they do work together in some complex — and intentionally secretive — ways, as evidenced in small part by their common international website. Both Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd have a presence in the United States: Nord owns Trader Joe’s, while Süd owns Aldi US.
Unfortunately, neither Aldi Nord or Aldi Süd sells stock, either in Germany or anywhere else in the world. The companies, instead, are privately owned, with the Albrecht family tightly holding control of the company. Theo passed away in 2010 and Karl followed in 2014, meaning that their relatives (including children) are the principal owners of their respective grocery empires.
Not selling stock has both advantages and disadvantages for Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd. Stock sales typically generate a massive amount of money for the company, but that comes at a cost, since it gives shareholders the ability to shape what the company does. By not selling stock, the Albrecht family does not have to answer to shareholders, and it also allows Aldi to think long-term rather focus on quarterly earnings like many publicly traded companies do.
Taken together, the two Aldi companies are collectively among the largest privately held companies in the world, with collective revenues over $60 billion. That’s more than privately held companies like State Farm, Lego, and IKEA. Unless your last name is Albrecht, though, you’re not going to see a share of the profits.