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Publicly listed, IPO

A company is “publicly listed” if its shares are bought and sold publicly on a stock market/stock exchange. It is owned by the shareholders (who may include both individual shareholders and “institutional investors” such as pension funds), and managed by a Board of Directors elected by an Annual General Meeting.  Private businesses, even when they are quite large, can operate lawfully without listing on a stock exchange.  Public listing, however, is a useful way for a growing company to raise capital (at first through an “initial public offering” [IPO] that offers shares in the company for sale, and later through the issue of further shares), and most of the world’s larger companies are publicly listed.  Transparency requirements for publicly listed companies are higher than for wholly private companies, because the publicly listed companies are required by law to disclose financial and other information in reports to shareholders and government authorities.