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[Identifying Black-Owned Companies]
In developing this year’s rankings of the BE 100S—the nation’s largest back-owned industrial/service companies, auto dealers, advertising agencies, and financial services firms—the B.E. Research and editorial teams have tightened our standards as it relates to the reporting of gross sales, billings, and other financial measures. Why have we decided to make our reporting and verification process tougher? To ensure that government agencies; corporate purchasing departments; economists; think tanks; media organizations; and, most importantly, our readership gain the most precise accounting of the financial performance and ownership status of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses.

B.E. Research and the BE 100s editorial team conducted due diligence for the 2005 BE INDUSTRIAL/ SERVICE 100, AUTO DEALER 100, financial services lists, the BE ADVERTISING AGENCIES list. We required each company included on these rankings to complete a survey. The information requested includes total revenues for calendar year 2004, a detailed description of business activities, historical data on when it came under majority black ownership, and confirmation that the entity is at least 51% black-owned or blacks own at least 51% of the controlling shares of a publicly traded company. B.E. Research requires that the CEO, CFO, or a current corporate officer sign and da
te our survey as verification of the information and we don’t stop there: whether a company that received our survey responds or not, B.E. Research and our editors make a series of phone calls to each company to verify survey information as well as check the accuracy of financial and business information through corporate purchasing offices, government agencies, and industry reporting services such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and Dun & Bradstreet.

Any company that received our survey and failed to provide financial information and confirmation of their black ownership or refused to respond to the queries of B.E. Research and our editors has not been included on this year’s rankings. These companies have not proven that they are either financially viable entities or that they meet our 51% black ownership requirement. Some of the prominent companies that failed to meet these standards this year: Magic Johnson Enterprises, a holding company with operations that include food and coffee franchises, movie theaters, and gyms; Spiral Inc., a plastic products distribution center business, whose CEO, Reginald Fowler, is attempting to buy the Minnesota Vikings football franchise; Luster Products Inc., a manufacturer of personal hair care products designed for African Americans; Dick Griffey Productions, a music publishing and mineral brokering company; Commodities Management Exchange, an Internet metal trading firm; FUBU, an urban fashion design house; and Essence Communications Partners, which agreed to sell the remaining 51% of the company to Time Inc. Companies that have sold their controlling interests to majority-owned corporations and, as a result, did not make the BE 100S rankings include ROCAWEAR, an urban apparel line, and Bad Boy Entertainment, the music empire of Sean “P.Diddy” Combs. One CEO, La-Van Hawkins of La-Van Hawkins Food & Entertainment Group L.L.C., is currently on

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