Finally, what would a Motley Fool feature be without some fun and folly? Our newspaper column also includes a trivia contest, which readers can participate in by submitting answers and winning prizes. Here are five examples of our "Name That Company" contest. Think you know the answers? Then post away on our Specials discussion board, and we'll award the Fool who gets the most answers correct with a Fool ballcap. (In the case of a tie, the winner will be randomly selected; see below for more details.)
1) I was born in 1946 when a Texan started a food-distribution company called Zero Foods. Today I'm the largest marketer and distributor of food-service products in North America, operating 104 distribution facilities. I deliver frozen vegetables, sacks of potatoes, prepared packaged meals, fresh and frozen meats, seafoods, poultry, fruits and vegetables, canned and dry products, paper and disposables, and more. I serve more than 350,000 restaurants, hotels, schools, hospitals, retirement homes and other food-service operations. I rake in nearly $20 billion per year in sales. I'm not a telecommunications equipment giant, but I sound like one. Who am I?
2) My area of expertise is picking up. Sporting about 60,000 employees and based in Houston, I'm the top dog in my industry, serving 10 million residential customers and 1 million businesses in North America. I own 300 state-of-the-art land-disposal sites, 16 trash-to-energy plants, more than 300 transfer stations and more than 1,400 collection facilities. I'm also the world's largest collector of recyclable materials from businesses and households, and my 160 materials recovery facilities process more than five million tons of recyclable commodities each year. My annual revenues top $12 billion. Who am I?
3) I was born in 1913, when a banker, a bookkeeper, a lawyer, a miner, and a wood and coal purveyor invested $100 each to form the Electro-Alkaline Co., to convert local brine into a liquid cleanser and germicide. My first customers were laundries, breweries, walnut processing sheds and municipal water companies. I was briefly owned by Procter & Gamble. Today I'm a worldwide producer of household grocery, food and insecticide products, with annual sales totaling $4 billion, and products sold in more than 110 countries. My brands include Glad, Pine-Sol, Hidden Valley, S.O.S., Kingsford, Fresh Step, Black Flag and STP. Who am I?
4) I came to life in 1851 as a four-page publication. Adolph Ochs bought me in 1896 when I was financially ailing. He beefed up my writing staff and added a book review section and magazine. A photograph graced my front page for the first time in 1910. When Ochs died in 1935, his son-in-law Arthur Sulzberger took over. I published my first Sunday crossword puzzle in 1942. I went public in 1967. I own Golf Digest and Golf World magazines, eight television stations and two radio stations. I also own 17 daily newspapers, including the Boston Globe. My daily circulation tops 1 million. Who am I?
5) I'm one of the world's largest hotel operating companies, with names such as these under my roof: Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis, W, Ciga, Luxury Collection and Four Points. Some of my better known units include the St. Regis in New York; the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz.; the Hotel Danieli in Venice; and the Palace Hotel in Madrid. My Westin division recently bought nine legendary luxury hotels in Europe. I own, lease, manage or franchise more than 700 hotels with more than 217,000 rooms in some 80 countries. I aim to increase earnings per share by 15 percent annually. Who am I?
Rules and Disclaimers: To enter our "Name That Company" contest, post your five answers on the Specials discussion board. No purchase necessary and void where prohibited. Motley Fool employees and their families not eligible for prizes. Deadline is midnight on Friday, April 6.