Privately-Held Companies: Legislation, Regulation, and Limited Dissemination of Financial Information

Zoeanna Mayhook


Publicly-traded companies have reporting and disclosure requirements set by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which includes the public disclosure of financial statements and an annual 10-K report. In contrast, privately-held companies most often do not meet the SEC filing requirements, and therefore, are not required to disclose financial information. For investors and business researchers, this can provide clear challenges for researching privately-held companies. This paper first highlights a sample of the significant legislation and rules affecting disclosure requirements of public and private companies. Then, it offers other government sources for company and industry financial information. Finally, it suggests further resources to educate business owners, investors, and business researchers.

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