There is much diversity in the business world. Companies large and small compete in one big market. They all have the mission to provide their customers with the best care possible and make the world a better place. Corporations like this fall into one of the two categories: public or private. What are the differences, and what are the results of those differences? Let’s find it out.

private vs public company valuation

What is a public company?

As mentioned above, there are two main types of business organizations. Usually, a public organization is larger, and its company shares are listed and traded on one or more of the world’s stock exchanges. This means that they are required to publish quarterly and annual earnings reports to be as transparent with their shareholders as possible. 

If you are invested or want to invest in a public company, you want to know where your funds go.

What is a private company?

The second type of business organization is private. These are often, but not always, smaller companies with much lower market caps than public companies. They are not required by any government agency such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to publish quarterly or annual earnings reports. 

A private company does not trade on a stock exchange. Incorporated private companies do issue privately held stock that’s held by private investors or company insiders.

But how are both kinds of companies valued? What are the discrepancies between private vs public company valuation? Let’s overview them briefly.

How to value a company?

As we can gather from the information supplied above, the valuations of both these companies are different. So let’s start with the public companies. 

A simple way to calculate a public company valuation is to multiply the number of outstanding shares by the cost per share. A company’s market cap provides a snapshot of a company’s value on a specific day — natural market forces cause share prices to fluctuate. Appraisers and certified public accountants (CPAs) use a more complicated method for calculating a company’s value.

This is not the case with private companies. Analysts doing private company valuation do not use market comparisons, as the company earnings reports are not disclosed to the public — though they may often estimate market cap based on sales data. The evaluator would need to have access to documentation of the company in question to create a more accurate report. 

Key differences between public and private companies

As mentioned earlier, private companies are usually valued less than their public counterparts. This has to deal with their availability to turn assets into cash. 

Public companies raise funds through a public offering of shares — initial public offering (IPO). They sell stock shares issued for public sale and use the proceeds to grow the company. This is not possible with private companies, as the company’s shares are held by investors and company insiders.

This does not mean that the private company is not as valuable as the public ones listed on NASDAQ or NYSE. A private company might still have space to grow. They could always go public in the future. 

The role of data rooms in the valuation process

Whether it is a private company or a public company, both could benefit from using a data room during the valuation process. The public company provides shareholders with additional reports which provide insight into the company’s future, and the private company shows their private investors their financial projections and where they think that the company is headed. 

Virtual data rooms provide their customers with utmost care for their data. Both public and private companies can share their important documents with people who believe in the company’s success.

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There are different types of companies out there. In this article, we recognized private and public companies. Some might be listed on stock exchanges worldwide, and some might be connected to an inner circle of private investors. Transparency in the paperwork is important in both cases. 

It does not matter if you invest in Amazon or your friend’s business, you want to know where your funds are going, or if you’re a business owner yourself, you can provide your investor with the transparency they need. Being able to access a virtual data room shows that it is a great way to build a long-lasting connection.

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