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Privately held company

A privately held company or close corporation is a business [company] owned either by [non-governmental organizations] or by a relatively small number of holders who do not trade the stock publicly on the [stock market] . 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 USA accounted for $1.8 trillion in revenues and employed 6.2 million people, according to [Forbes] . In 2005, the 339 companies on [Forbes] ' survey of closely held U.S. businesses sold a trillion dollars' worth of goods and services 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] , [Chrysler] , [PricewaterhouseCoopers] , [Pilot Travel Centers] , [Ernst & Young] , [Publix] , [Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu] and [Mars] are among the largest privately held companies in the United States. [IKEA] , [Victorinox] , and [Bosch] are examples of Europe's largest privately held companies.

State ownership vs. private ownership
In the broadest sense, the term private corporation refers to any business not owned by the state. This usage is often found in former [Communist countries] to differentiate from former state-owned enterprises, but it may be used anywhere when contrasting to a state-owned company.

In the United States, the term privately held company is more often used to describe for-profit enterprises whose shares are not traded on the stock market.

Ownership of stock

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