Public Company

A public company, publicly traded company, publicly held company, publicly listed company, or public limited company is a corporation whose ownership is dispersed among the general public in many shares of stock which are freely traded on a stock exchange or in over-the-counter markets. In some jurisdictions, public companies over a certain size must be listed on an exchange. A public company can be listed (listed company) or unlisted (unlisted public company).

Public companies are formed within the legal systems of particular states, and therefore have associations and formal designations which are distinct and separate in the polity in which they reside. For example one of the main public company forms in the United States is called a limited liability company (or LLC), in France is called a "society of limited responsibility" (SARL), in Britain a public limited company (plc), and in Germany a company with limited liability (GmbH). While the general idea of a public company may be similar, differences are meaningful, and are at the core of international law disputes with regard to industry and trade.

Tags: Business