The 50 Who Matter Now

In our second annual ranking, Business 2.0 has compiled an unabashedly subjective list of people, products, trends, and ideas that are transforming the world of business.

Private Equity
Private Equity
The new Masters of the Universe

Rank: 3

Why They Matter: Ask any MBA student what she wants to be when she grows up, and chances are she'll gush about landing a job at a private-equity firm like Blackstone, Carlyle, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, or Texas Pacific Group.

And why not? Private-equity shops raised a record $217 billion in new capital in the United States alone during 2006 and are now busy buying up everything from massive REITs like Zell's Equity Office Partners (purchased by Blackstone for $38.3 billion) to tiny startups like visual effects firm the Mill.

With so much private money flowing into every sector of the economy, some foresee a train wreck. Perhaps. But in the meantime, PE firms announced more than a quarter-trillion dollars' worth of deals in the first five months of this year -- which means that, for better or worse, private equity will make its presence felt for a long time to come.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Blackstone purchased Equity Office Partners for $20 billion.

Adelson

Calacanis

Bianchini

Iacobucci, Raburn

Graham

You

Williams

Musk

Melton

O'Reilly

Edmond

Zell

Huffington

Fake Steve Jobs

Walsh

Draft

Zuckerberg

Branson

Nooyi

Ambani bros.

Phillips

Negroponte

Hundt

Friis, Zennstrom

Cogan

Rosedale

Fadell

Kao

Arrington

Stephenson

Miyamoto

Eberhard

Agile software

Li

Diller

Chizen

Hurd

Wales

Bezos

McAndrews

Watanabe

Chambers

Schwarzenegger

Decker

Murdoch

Jacobs

Moritz

Private equity

Jobs

Google trio
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.