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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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Koch Industries

The agency formerly known as William Morris Endeavor is redefining the talent business, one acquisition at a time. It snapped up sports, entertainment, and marketing powerhouse International Management Group for $2.4 billion in 2014. In 2015 it closed a dozen more deals, acquiring Professional Bull Riders, which puts on—you guessed it—rodeos, and the Miss Universe […]
Photograph by Eddie Seal — Bloomberg via Getty Images

The notoriety of the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch as political contributors tends to obscure their mostly self-effacing but hugely important company. Koch Industries generates $115 billion in annual revenue in businesses ranging from oil and gas to agriculture, materials, and paper towels. It has used its freedom from the pressures of public markets to make astute long-term bets. For instance, it became a global agribusiness player over a decade via under-the-radar investments; it picked up electronics components manufacturer Molex for $7.2 billion in 2013, anticipating a boom in the Internet of things; and seeing a future of water shortages, Koch has been exploring technologies such as desalination.

Company Info

CEO Charles Koch
HQ location Wichita

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