private company

A private company is a business entity whose securities do not trade on public markets. Compare to public company. Private companies can be structured as sole proprietorships, partnerships or corporations, and can range in size from a single owner to international enterprises. Although private companies cannot sell their securities without first conducting an initial public offering (IPO), they may still be able to raise capital by issuing securities through private placements

[Last updated in January of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]