Bridgewater Associates

The 25 Most Important Private Companies

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The companies were selected based on a combination of factors: their prodigious revenues or assets, their social currency, their deep connection to our daily lives, and (particularly for the newer and smaller companies), their disruptive impact.

For more on the 25 Most Important Private Companies, see "Companies Find a New Allure in Going Private."


By Erika Fry, Leigh Gallagher, Vivian Giang, Erin Griffith, Robert Hackett, Mathew Ingram, John Kell, Beth Kowitt, Adam Lashinsky, Michal Lev-Ram, Sy Mukherjee, Brian O’Keefe, and Christopher Tkaczyk

Fortune has long celebrated the achievements of massive publicly-held corporations in lists such as the long-running Fortune 500. Today, as even super-hot startups forgo IPOs (at least for now), and some public behemoths turn private, the time has come to recognize the hugely significant contributions of those corporations that choose not to sell their stock to the public.

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Could Wall Street function without Bloomberg terminals? Someday we’ll undoubtedly find out, but till then, they’re the data, news, and chat lifeline for an entire industry. The terminals provide tens of billions of pieces of financial information daily to 325,000 financial professionals who pay more than $20,000 a year for a subscription. Founder Mike Bloomberg […]
Photograph by Floto & Warner

Every day most Americans—usually without realizing it—eat food that Cargill has touched in some way. With $120 billion in sales, it is the largest private company in the U.S. and has its hand in almost every part of the food chain, from providing feed to livestock producers to selling ingredients to manufacturers. MacLennan is remaking the 151-year-old company to suit shifting consumer preferences. Cargill has reduced its use of antibiotics in turkeys and cattle, and created a GMO-free corn syrup, among other things. The shake-up is needed: Results have slumped in part because of a slowdown in emerging markets.

Company Info

CEO David MacLennan
HQ location Minneapolis

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