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Public company

: Not to be confused with [Public limited company] or with [Government-owned corporation] .
A public company or publicly traded company is a [company] that has permission to offer its registered [securities] ( [stock] , [bonds] , etc.) for sale to the general public, typically through a [stock exchange] , or occasionally a company whose [stock] is traded [over the counter] (OTC) via [market makers] who use non-exchange quotation services.

Securities of a public company
Usually, the securities of a publicly traded company are owned by many investors while the shares of a [privately held company] are owned by relatively few shareholders. A company with many shareholders is not necessarily a publicly traded company. In the United States, in some instances, companies with over 500 shareholders may be required to report under the [Securities Exchange Act of 1934] ; companies that report under the 1934 Act are generally deemed public companies. The first company to issue shares is thought to be the [Dutch East India Company] in 1601.
It is able to raise funds and [capital] through the sale of its securities. This is the reason publicly traded corporations are important: prior to their existence, it was very difficult to obtain large amounts of capital for private enterprises.

In addition to being able to easily raise capital, publicly traded companies may issue their securities as compensation for those that provide services to the company, such as their directors, officers, and employees.

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