Difference Wiki

Pvt Ltd Company vs. Public Ltd Company: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 21, 2023
A pvt ltd company is privately held, often by a small group of individuals, whereas a public ltd company has shares available to the general public on a stock exchange.

Key Differences

A pvt ltd company, short for "private limited company," is a type of business entity that is owned by private individuals or entities and does not offer shares to the public. This company type is characterized by its limited liability, where the owners' liability is confined to their shareholding. The shares of a pvt ltd company cannot be freely traded and are not available on public exchanges. In essence, it offers a mix of partnership-like management and corporate-like liability protection.
In contrast, a public ltd company, short for "public limited company," is a business entity that offers its shares to the general public, typically through a stock exchange. These companies have to adhere to stringent regulatory requirements, given that they're under the scrutiny of public shareholders and regulatory agencies. The primary advantage is their ability to raise capital by issuing shares to the general public through an Initial Public Offering (IPO).
While the pvt ltd company is often seen as more suitable for small to medium-sized businesses due to its restricted shareholder base and fewer regulatory requirements, the public ltd company is generally viewed as fitting for larger corporations that have a wide investor base. One primary distinction is the transparency requirement: public ltd companies must disclose detailed financial and operational information regularly.
Yet, both the pvt ltd company and public ltd company offer limited liability protection to their shareholders. This means that personal assets of the shareholders are typically safe from the company's debts. However, the decision to remain private or go public involves evaluating factors like the need for capital, desired level of oversight, and the company's long-term objectives.

Comparison Chart


Privately held
Publicly traded on stock exchanges

Share Trading

Shares not freely traded
Shares traded openly on stock markets

Regulatory Requirements

Generally fewer
Stricter due to public interest


Less disclosure required
Regular, detailed disclosures mandatory

Capital Raising

Typically from private sources
Can issue shares to the public via IPO

Pvt Ltd Company and Public Ltd Company Definitions

Pvt Ltd Company

A firm with shares not available to the general public.
Their pvt ltd company has seen steady growth over the last five years.

Public Ltd Company

A firm with shares available on stock exchanges.
Investors were eager to buy stocks from the newly listed public ltd company.

Pvt Ltd Company

A business entity with private ownership.
My friend started a pvt ltd company that focuses on eco-friendly products.

Public Ltd Company

Business entity under stringent regulatory oversight.
The public ltd company annually discloses its financial performance details.

Pvt Ltd Company

Company with limited liability and private shareholders.
The pvt ltd company secured investments from a select group of individuals.

Public Ltd Company

A large-scale enterprise with a broad shareholder base.
The tech-based public ltd company boasts thousands of shareholders worldwide.

Pvt Ltd Company

Business structure offering protection against personal asset seizure.
Owners of the pvt ltd company were relieved their personal assets were safeguarded.

Public Ltd Company

Corporation raising capital through public share issuance.
The public ltd company's IPO was a massive success, attracting global investors.

Pvt Ltd Company

A corporation not trading shares on public exchanges.
As a pvt ltd company, their financial disclosures are less rigorous.

Public Ltd Company

A corporation with publicly traded shares.
The public ltd company debuted its shares on the stock market today.


What defines a pvt ltd company?

A pvt ltd company is privately held, often by a small group, without publicly traded shares.

Can anyone buy shares in a pvt ltd company?

No, shares of a pvt ltd company are not openly traded and are usually restricted to a select group.

How does a public ltd company differ?

A public ltd company offers shares to the public and is listed on a stock exchange.

Is a pvt ltd company subject to fewer regulations?

Generally, yes. Pvt ltd companies often have fewer regulatory requirements compared to public ltd companies.

Why might a company choose to stay private?

Staying private offers more managerial control, less regulatory scrutiny, and confidentiality in financial matters.

How does ownership concentration differ between the two?

Pvt ltd companies often have a more concentrated ownership, while public ltd companies have a dispersed ownership.

Can a public ltd company revert to being private?

Yes, through a process called a "take-private" transaction, often led by management or private investors.

How do dividend policies typically differ?

Public ltd companies often have more consistent dividend policies to appease shareholders, while pvt ltd companies might not distribute dividends regularly.

What's the main advantage of being a public ltd company?

Public ltd companies can access vast capital by selling shares to the public, enhancing visibility and credibility.

Do public ltd companies need to disclose more information?

Yes, due to regulatory requirements, public ltd companies must disclose detailed financial and operational data.

Is it easier to evaluate the value of a public ltd company?

Generally, yes. The stock market provides a continuous valuation for public ltd companies through share prices.

How are decisions typically made in a pvt ltd company?

Decision-making in pvt ltd companies is often quicker and centralized, given the limited number of stakeholders.

Do pvt ltd companies have a maximum shareholder limit?

In many jurisdictions, yes. For instance, in the U.S., an S-corporation (similar to pvt ltd) can have up to 100 shareholders.

Can a pvt ltd company have foreign shareholders?

Depending on jurisdiction and company bylaws, a pvt ltd company can have foreign shareholders.

Why might a company choose the pvt ltd structure over sole proprietorship?

A pvt ltd structure offers limited liability, protecting personal assets, and can easily accommodate multiple shareholders.

How does a company become a public ltd company?

Companies become public through an Initial Public Offering (IPO), allowing them to sell shares to the public.

Are shareholders of both company types protected from company debt?

Yes, both pvt ltd and public ltd companies offer limited liability protection to shareholders.

How does transparency impact a public ltd company's operations?

Due to mandatory disclosures, public ltd companies operate under higher transparency, impacting strategies and decisions.

Do public ltd companies face more public scrutiny?

Yes, being publicly traded means more media coverage, public evaluations, and analyst reports.

What are the risks of becoming a public ltd company?

Going public involves risks like stock price volatility, increased legal liabilities, and the cost of compliance.
About Author
Written 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.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons