Difference Wiki

Listed Company vs. Unlisted Company: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on November 28, 2023
A listed company is publicly traded on a stock exchange, whereas an unlisted company is not traded on any public exchange.

Key Differences

A listed company is a firm whose shares are traded on a stock exchange, allowing public investors to buy and sell its stock. In contrast, an unlisted company does not have its shares available on public exchanges, limiting its exposure to general investors.
Companies that are listed must adhere to strict regulatory and financial reporting standards, offering transparency and accountability to their shareholders. Unlisted companies, while still governed by legal requirements, face less stringent public disclosure obligations.
Listed companies benefit from increased visibility and the ability to raise capital through public markets. Unlisted companies, on the other hand, may have fewer shareholders and rely on private investments or loans for funding.
The valuation of a listed company is regularly updated in the stock market, providing a clear market value. In contrast, determining the valuation of an unlisted company can be more complex due to the absence of market-driven price discovery.
Shareholders in a listed company can easily trade their shares, providing liquidity and flexibility. Shareholders of an unlisted company often find it harder to sell their shares, as there is no public market for these transactions.

Comparison Chart

Trading Venue

Shares traded on public stock exchanges
Shares not traded on public exchanges

Regulatory Compliance

Must comply with stringent stock exchange regulations
Subject to less stringent regulatory requirements

Public Disclosure

Required to disclose financial and operational information publicly
Limited public disclosure requirements

Capital Raising

Can raise capital publicly through stock issuance
Relies on private investments or loans

Shareholder Liquidity

Higher liquidity with easily tradable shares
Lower liquidity; shares harder to trade

Listed Company and Unlisted Company Definitions

Listed Company

These companies can raise capital by issuing public shares.
Tesla raised significant funds as a listed company through its IPO.

Unlisted Company

Shareholder liquidity is limited in unlisted companies.
Selling shares in an unlisted company can be challenging due to lack of a public trading platform.

Listed Company

Listed companies offer high liquidity for their shares.
Investors appreciate the liquidity of shares in listed companies like Amazon.

Unlisted Company

These companies often rely on private investments for capital.
Unlisted companies may seek funding from private investors or venture capitalists.

Listed Company

A listed company is publicly traded on a stock exchange.
Microsoft is a well-known listed company on the NASDAQ.

Unlisted Company

An unlisted company is not traded on public stock exchanges.
Many startups begin as unlisted companies, focusing on private investments.

Listed Company

Listed companies are subject to rigorous regulatory standards.
As a listed company, Apple must regularly report its financial performance.

Unlisted Company

Valuation of unlisted companies is less transparent.
Determining the market value of an unlisted company requires more in-depth financial analysis.

Listed Company

Their market value is determined by stock market performance.
The market value of listed companies like Google fluctuates with stock market trends.

Unlisted Company

Unlisted companies have fewer regulatory compliance burdens.
Unlisted companies like local family businesses aren't bound by stringent stock exchange rules.


How does a company become listed?

By meeting specific criteria and completing an Initial Public Offering (IPO) process.

What are the advantages of being a listed company?

Access to capital markets, increased visibility, and shareholder liquidity.

Can an unlisted company have shareholders?

Yes, but they are usually private investors or closely-held entities.

What is a listed company?

A firm whose shares are publicly traded on a stock exchange.

What is an unlisted company?

A company whose shares are not available on public stock exchanges.

Can unlisted companies go public?

Yes, through an IPO or direct listing process.

Are unlisted companies subject to fewer regulations?

They have less stringent public disclosure and regulatory requirements.

Can a listed company become unlisted?

Yes, through a process called delisting, often due to non-compliance or strategic decisions.

How do investors trade shares in unlisted companies?

Usually through private sales or over-the-counter markets.

Is shareholder engagement different between the two?

Listed companies typically have broader shareholder bases and formal engagement processes.

Can unlisted companies be large and successful?

Yes, many large private companies choose to remain unlisted.

Are market fluctuations a bigger concern for listed companies?

Yes, as their stock prices are directly affected by market conditions.

Can an individual invest in an unlisted company?

Yes, but it usually involves private investment opportunities and agreements.

Is it easier to value a listed company?

Yes, as their shares have a publicly known market value.

How does a company decide to list or stay unlisted?

Based on strategic goals, funding needs, and readiness for regulatory compliance.

Do unlisted companies have a board of directors?

Yes, but their governance structures may vary from public companies.

Do listed companies have higher transparency?

Yes, due to mandatory public reporting and disclosure.

Is insider trading a concern for unlisted companies?

Less so, as they are not subject to the same public scrutiny and regulations.

How does the public perception differ between the two?

Listed companies often have a higher profile and perceived credibility.

Are dividends different for listed and unlisted companies?

Dividend policies vary, but listed companies often have more predictable patterns.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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