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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Photograph by Gareth Cattermole — Getty Images for BFI

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 Organization, which it bought from Donald Trump. The agency’s current valuation? About $5.5 billion. Last year it generated Ebitda of more than $400 million, thanks to its growing portfolio of brands—and megastar clients ranging from Tina Fey and Oprah Winfrey to Cam Newton and Serena Williams.

Company Info

CEO Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell (Co-CEOs)
HQ location Beverly Hills

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