Privately held company
A privately held company (or simply a private company) is a company whose shares and related rights or obligations are not offered for public subscription or publicly negotiated in the respective listed markets but rather the company's stock is offered, owned, traded, exchanged privately, or over-the-counter. In the case of a closed corporation, there are relatively few shareholders or company members. Related terms are a closely held corporation, unquoted company, and unlisted company.
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They are less visible and may be less popular than their publicly traded counterparts, but private companies have major importance in the world's economy. In 2008, the 441 largest private companies in the United States accounted for $1.8 trillion in revenues and employed 6.2 million people, according to Forbes. In 2005, using a substantially smaller pool size (22.7%) for comparison, the 339 companies on Forbes' survey of closely held U.S. businesses sold a trillion dollars' worth of goods and services (44%) and employed four million people. In 2004, the Forbes count of privately held U.S. businesses with at least $1 billion in revenue was 305.
Separately, all non-government-owned companies are considered private enterprises. That meaning includes both publicly traded and privately held companies since their investors are individuals in the private sector.