They pay your wages and run your local shops. Their shares might feature in your pension fund or belong to you as a taxpayer. As the London-based City Editor, I keep an eye on the companies that dominate our economic life and the men and women who run them.
The Competition Commission is expected to decide this summer whether Britvic, whose brands include Robinsons, Tango and Fruit Shoot, can combine with Cumbernauld-based AG Barr to create one of Europe's biggest drinks firms.
But some analysts put the chances of a deal now at less than 10%.
Gerald Corbett, chairman of Hemel Hempstead-based Britvic, said: "The Competition Commission is expected to announce its final decision by the end of July.