A privately held 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. Less ambiguous terms for a privately held company are unquoted company and unlisted company.
Though less visible than their publicly traded counterparts, private companies have a major importance in the world’s economy. In 2008, the 441 largest private companies in the United States accounted for $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.
Koch Industries, Bechtel, Cargill, Publix, Pilot Corp., one of the members of the Big Four accounting firms, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Hearst Corporation, S. C. Johnson, and Mars are among the largest privately held companies in the United States. KPMG, the UK accounting firms, Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers, IKEA, LEGO, Bosch, and Rolex are some examples of Europe’s largest privately held companies.
PLEASE NOTE: As a client of any self directed custodian, it is completely your responsibility to investigate each and every investment that you make. A custodian cannot, and does not, provide any protection from a poor or improper investment. Make sure you know what you are investing in, with whom you are investing, and what investments may constitute a violation of IRS code with regard to Individual Retirement Accounts.