Public company

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Public Company

A company that has held an initial public offering and whose shares are traded on a stock exchange or in the over-the-counter market. Public companies are subject to periodic filing and other obligations under the federal securities laws.
Copyright © 2012, Campbell R. Harvey. All Rights Reserved.

Public Limited Company

A primarily British term for a publicly-traded company. The term derives from the facts that the company issues shares that may be bought and sold by the general public and all shareholders have limited liability.

Publicly-Traded Company

A company issuing stocks, which are traded on the open market, either on a stock exchange or on the over-the-counter market. Individual and institutional shareholders constitute the owners of a publicly-traded company, in proportion to the amount of stock they own as a percentage of all outstanding stock. Thus, shareholders have final say in all decisions taken by a publicly-traded company and its managers, especially through its annual shareholders' meeting. Publicly-traded companies have greater access to financing than other companies, as they have the ability to issue more stock. However, they are subject to greater regulation: for example, they must file 10-K reports with the SEC on their earnings and they are more likely to be subject to corporate taxes. A publicly-traded company is also called a public company.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Public company.

The stock of a public company is owned and traded by individual and institutional investors.

In contrast, in a privately held company, the stock is held by company founders, management, employees, and sometimes venture capitalists.

Many privately held companies eventually go public to help raise capital to finance growth. Conversely, public companies can be taken private for a variety of reasons.

Dictionary of Financial Terms. Copyright © 2008 Lightbulb Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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After the 1929 stock market crash and the concomitant realization of widespread fraudulent financial reporting in Germany, the German government instituted mandatory audits of publicly-traded stock corporations.
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