Corporate Profile: Kraft Foods Inc.
In the beginning, there was cheese. In 1903, Canadian James L Kraft started a wholesale door-to-door business to sell cheese in Chicago. A little more than 10 years later, the company was selling 31 different kinds of cheeses. By 1930, Kraft accounted for 40 percent of the US cheese market.
The modern-day version of Kraft as a food — as opposed to only cheese — company came into being at the end of 1988. Philip Morris Companies bought Kraft and combined it with its General Foods unit, from where household brands like Oscar Mayer, Maxwell House and Jell-O hail. In 2000, Philip Morris took over Nabisco Holdings and Kraft was again merged with the new acquisition. A year later, Kraft launched the third-largest IPO of all time and sold 280 million of common shares.
In January 2007, Kraft was spun off as its own company.