A privately held company, private company, or close corporation is a business company owned either by non-governmental organizations or by a relatively small number of shareholders or company members which does not offer or trade its company stock (shares) to the general public on the stock market exchanges, but rather the company's stock is offered, owned and traded or exchanged privately or over-the-counter. More ambiguous terms for a privately held company are closely held corporation, unquoted company, and unlisted company.
Though less visible than their publicly traded counterparts, private companies have major importance in the world's economy. In 2008, the 441 largest private companies in the United States accounted for US$1,800,000,000,000 ($1.8 trillion) in revenues and employed 6.2 million people, according to Forbes. In 2005, using a substantially smaller pool size (22.7%) for comparison, the 339 companies on Forbes' survey of closely held U.S. businesses sold a trillion dollars' worth of goods and services (44%) and employed 4 million people. In 2004, the Forbes' count of privately held U.S. businesses with at least $1 billion in revenue was 305.
Private ownership of productive assets differs from state ownership or collective ownership (as in worker-owned companies). This usage is often found in former communist countries to differentiate from former state-owned enterprises, but it may be used anywhere when contrasting to a state-owned or a collectively owned company.
In the United States, the term privately held company is more often used to describe for-profit enterprises whose shares are not traded on the stock market.
In countries with public trading markets, a privately held business is generally taken to mean one whose ownership shares or interests are not publicly traded. Often, privately held companies are owned by the company founders or their families and heirs or by a small group of investors. Sometimes employees also hold shares of private companies. Most small businesses are privately held.
Subsidiaries and joint ventures of publicly traded companies (for example, General Motors' Saturn Corporation), unless shares in the subsidiary itself are traded directly, have characteristics of both privately held companies and publicly traded companies. Such companies are usually subject to the same reporting requirements as privately held companies, but their assets, liabilities, and activities are also included in the reports of their parent companies, as required by the accountancy and securities industry rules relating to groups of companies.
Private companies may be called corporations, limited companies, limited liability companies, unlimited companies, or other names, depending on where and how they are organized and structured. In the United States, but not generally in the United Kingdom, the term is also extended to partnerships, sole proprietorships or business trusts. Each of these categories may have additional requirements and restrictions that may impact reporting requirements, income tax liabilities, governmental obligations, employee relations, marketing opportunities, and other business obligations and decisions.
In many countries, there are forms of organization which are restricted to and are commonly used by private companies, for example, the private company limited by shares in the United Kingdom (abbreviated Ltd) or unlimited company and the proprietary limited company (abbreviated Pty Ltd) or unlimited proprietary company (abbreviated Pty) in Australia.
Privately held companies generally have fewer or less comprehensive reporting requirements and obligations for transparency, via annual reports, etc. than publicly traded companies do. For example, in the United States, unlike in Europe, privately held companies are not generally required to publish their financial statements. By not being required to disclose details about their operations and financial outlook, private companies are not forced to disclose information that may potentially be valuable to competitors and can avoid the immediate erosion of customer and stakeholder confidence in the event of financial duress. Further, with limited reporting requirements and shareholder expectations, private firms are afforded a greater operational flexibility by being able to focus on long-term growth rather than quarterly earnings. In addition, private company executives may steer their ships without shareholder approval, allowing them to take significant action without delays. In Australia, Part 2E of the Corporations Act 2001 requires that publicly traded companies file certain documents relating to their annual general meeting with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. There is a similar requirement for large proprietary companies, which are required to lodge Form 388H to the ASIC containing their financial report. In the United States, private companies are held to different accounting auditing standards than are public companies, overseen by the Private Company Counsel division of FASB.(see external links)
Researching private companies and private companies' financials can involve contacting the Secretary of State for the state of incorporation (or for LLC or partnership, state of formation), or using specialized private company databases such as Dun & Bradstreet or PrivCo.(see external links) Other companies, like Sageworks, provide aggregated data on privately held companies, segmented by industry code.
Privately held companies also sometimes have restrictions on how many shareholders they may have. For example, the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, section 12(g), limits a privately held company, generally, to fewer than 2000 shareholders, and the U.S. Investment Company Act of 1940, requires registration of investment companies that have more than 100 holders. In Australia, section 113 of the Corporations Act 2001 limits a privately held company to fifty non-employee shareholders.
A privately owned enterprise is a commercial enterprise that is owned by private investors, shareholders or owners (usually collectively, but they can be owned by a single individual), and is in contrast to state institutions, such as publicly owned enterprises and government agencies. Private enterprises comprise the private sector of an economy. An economic system that 1) contains a large private sector where privately run businesses are the backbone of the economy, and 2) business surplus is controlled by the owners, is referred to as capitalism. This contrasts with socialism, where industry is owned by the state or by all of the community in common. The act of taking assets into the private sector is referred to as privatization. The goal of private enterprise differs from other institutions, the major difference being private businesses exist solely to generate profit for the owners or shareholders.
A privately owned enterprise is one form that private property may take.
Advance Publications, Inc. is an American media company owned by the descendants of S.I. Newhouse Sr., Donald Newhouse and S.I. Newhouse Jr. It is named after the Staten Island Advance, the first newspaper owned by the Newhouse family, in which Sam Newhouse bought a controlling interest in 1922. The company is nominally headquartered in the Advance offices in Staten Island's Grasmere neighborhood, though Advance has never had an official headquarters.As of October 2014, it was ranked as the 44th largest privately held company in the United States, according to Forbes. Crain's ranked Advance Publications the 4th largest private company in the New York area in 2012.
In addition to holding publishing and communication assets, Advance serves as the holding company for the family's 31% stake in cable entertainment company Discovery Inc. Advance also owns a 13% stake in Charter Communications, which it received when Bright House Networks merged with Charter. In August 2018, Advance/Newhouse ("A/N") notified Charter Communications that it intends to establish a credit facility collateralized by a portion of Advance/Newhouse Common Units in Charter Communications Holdings, LLC. That same month, Condé Nast CEO announced his five-year strategy to generate $600 million in new revenue from new revenue streams while driving costs out of the business.Directly and through various subsidiaries, the group owns Discovery channel, Condé Nast, the popular digital news website Wired, Lycos, Angelfire, Tripod and is the majority shareholder in Reddit.Aman Futures Group
Aman Futures Group (simply referred as Aman Futures) was an investment and privately held company based in Malaysia with branches in the Philippines. It has also been allegedly engaged in a pyramid scheme. The group was founded by Manuel K. Amalilio, a Filipino of Malaysian descent.Asurion
Asurion, LLC is a privately held company based in Nashville, Tennessee that provides insurance for smartphones, tablets, consumer electronics, appliances, satellite receivers and jewelry. In 2014, the company operated in 14 countries and had 49 offices with 17,000 employees serving 280 million consumers.CRST
CRST International is a freight company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Founded in 1955 by Herald and Miriam Smith, it is a privately held company with a current fleet of about 4,500 trucks and annual revenues of $1.5 billion.Civilian-run enterprise
Civilian-run enterprise is a type of company or enterprise to describe a non-state-owned enterprise (state-owned enterprise including companies owned by the state, the central and regional government) in the People's Republic of China. A privately held company is a type of civilian-run enterprise. However, there is no proper legal definition of "civilian-run enterprise" in China. It is considered to be a special term in the Economy of China (Minqi (Chinese: 民企; pinyin: Mínqǐ) or Chinese: 民营企业; pinyin: Mínyíng qǐyè). The translation of the term "Minqi" was difficult, as stated by Ye Dong, a Chinese businessman during an interview by the Chinese language version of the Financial Times.A civilian-run enterprise may be a publicly traded company or a privately held company (any company that is not owned by a government nor listed on the stock exchange). If the company is listed in Hong Kong (and incorporated outside mainland China), it would be referred to as a P chip.Crunk Energy Drink
Crunk Energy Drink, sometimes stylized as CRUNK!!! Energy, is an energy supplement owned by Solvi Acquisition LLC, a privately held company headquartered in Twinsburg, OH.Express, Inc.
Express, Inc. is an American fashion retailer that caters mainly to young men and women. The company is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Express operates 635 stores in the United States, and Puerto Rico, and formerly in Canada. Its revenue was US$ 2.192 billion in fiscal year 2016.Groove Networks
Groove Networks was a software company based in Beverly, Massachusetts. Founded by Ray Ozzie, the creator of IBM's Lotus Notes application, the privately held company specialized in productivity software that allows multiple users to work collaboratively on computer files simultaneously.
On March 10, 2005, Microsoft announced that they had purchased Groove Networks for $120 million. Microsoft has first used the collaboration software as Microsoft SharePoint Workspace, which is discontinued. The technology is now used in Onedrive within Office365
As of February 2013, the servers hosting Groove 2.5n, a DropBox-like application, were still operational.InstallFree
InstallFree Inc. is a privately held company, backed by Ignition Partners and Trilogy Equity Partners, with headquarters in Stamford, CT and offices located worldwide. InstallFree specializes in Application Virtualization and delivery, based on their proprietary application virtualization technology that works on a variety of Microsoft Windows platforms such as Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Terminal Server and Citrix XenApp.Intel Ct
Intel Ct is a programming model developed by Intel to ease the exploitation of its future multicore chips, as demonstrated by the Tera-Scale research program.
It is based on the exploitation of SIMD to produce automatically parallelized programs.
On August 19, 2009, Intel acquired RapidMind, a privately held company founded and headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. RapidMind and Ct combined into a successor named Intel Array Building Blocks (ArBB) released in September 2010.Legacy.com
Legacy.com is a website founded in 1998, the world's largest commercial provider of online memorials. The Web site hosts obituaries and memorials for more than 70 percent of all U.S. deaths. Legacy.com hosts obituaries for more than three-quarters of the 100 largest newspapers in the U.S., by circulation. The site attracts more than 30 million unique visitors per month and is among the top 40 trafficked websites in the world.Legacy.com attaches a publicly accessible guestbook to most of the obituaries it hosts, which enables anyone with an Internet connection to pay tribute to someone whose obituary appears in one of Legacy.com's affiliate newspapers or is self-published on Legacy.com. The company now reviews more than 1,000,000 guestbook entries each month. About 75 percent of all guestbooks receive entries. As of 2016, the company was approaching 100 million guestbook entries on its site.Legacy.com is a privately held company based in Evanston, Illinois, with more than 1500 newspaper affiliates in North America, Europe and Australia, including The New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Manchester Evening News. The executive team is currently led by CEO Stopher Bartol.Menards
Menard Inc. is a chain of home improvement centers, located in the Midwestern United States.
The privately held company, headquartered in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, has 305 stores in 14 states: Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Kentucky. It is the third largest home improvement chain in the United States, behind The Home Depot and Lowe's.NumberFire
numberFire is a privately held company that offers statistical analysis of data around sporting events and sports fans, targeting fantasy sports players, digital media, writers, teams, and leagues. The site boasts over 700,000 subscribers and partnerships with ESPN, NFL, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and SB Nation.OnTrac
OnTrac is a logistics company that contracts regional shipping services in the Western United States. The company was founded in California in 1991 and expanded to seven additional states: Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado and Idaho. Initial customers were document shippers that sought an alternative to overnight delivery in California versus national carriers. Their current service area serves over 65 million consumers, or 20% of the United States population. OnTrac is a privately held company.Proprietary
Proprietary is an adjective related to property or ownership. It may also refer to:
Proprietary chapel, a chapel that originally belonged to a person, but open to the public
Proprietary church, a church built on private ground by a feudal lord
Proprietary education or For-profit higher education in the United States, educational institutions operated by private businesses
Proprietary colony, an early North American colony granted by the English Crown to one or more proprietors
Proprietary community, a community property owned by a single person or entity
Proprietary company, a form of privately held company in Australia and South Africa
Proprietary DVR, methodologies used to maintain commercial control over the DVR format
Proprietary eponym or Generic trademark, a trademark or brand name that has become a generic name
Proprietary estoppel, a legal mechanism to acquire rights over property, especially land
Proprietary governor, the governor of a proprietary colony
Proprietary House, a mansion in New Jersey built for the proprietary governor in 1764
Proprietary lock-in or Vendor lock-in, creating customer dependency on a vendor for products and services
Proprietary trading, the practice of trading financial instruments with a firm's own moneyScanSafe
ScanSafe was a privately held company backed by investors Benchmark Capital and Scale Venture Partners, until its 2009 acquisition by Cisco Systems. The company provided Web-based "Software as a service" (SaaS) to organizations.Tubefilter
Tubefilter, Inc. is a privately held company based in Los Angeles, California that operates media businesses focusing on the online entertainment industry. Tubefilter is best known for Tubefilter News, a blog targeted at the fans, creators, producers, "influencers" and distributors of web television content.Tubefilter News has been cited by Variety, and its staff have been quoted by the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, The Wrap, and BusinessWeek, when covering the web television industry. It is ranked in the top 1,600 blogs worldwide according to Technorati.The company also operates the Streamy Awards, a weekly web television guide, and monthly web series meetups. In October 2009, Tubefilter acquired online entertainment and reviews site Tilzy.tv.US Assure
US Assure is an American insurance company that manages, distributes and services programs for carriers in the construction and property insurance market. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, the privately held company offers builders risk, contractors equipment, vacant structures and rental dwellings products with distribution throughout the U.S.Velcro
Velcro BVBA is a privately held company that produces fasteners and other products. It is known for being the original patentor of the hook-and-loop fastener, to which it has (over its objections) lent the generic name "velcro".