A:

In some instances, both private and public companies may issue shares to their own employees as part of a compensation program. This action is designed to motivate employees by tying a portion of their earnings to the company's earnings.

In some cases, people may eventually want to sell their shares. For publicly traded shares, this process is simple: an employee can just sell the shares through a broker. Private shares, on the other hand, cannot be sold as easily. Because private shares represent a stake in a company that is not listed on any exchange, finding a buyer may be difficult. The lack of information about most private companies tends to dissuade investors, who are usually very reluctant to buy into a company that they know nothing about.

The simplest solution for selling private stocks is to approach the issuing company and to inquire about what other investors did to liquidate their stakes. Some private companies may have buyback programs, which allow investors to sell their shares back to the issuing company. Private companies may also be able to provide leads about current shareholders or new investors who have expressed interest in buying the company's shares.

After an investor manages to find a buyer for the stocks, it is suggested that he or she visit a securities lawyer in order to finish off the paperwork because although private stocks are not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), all SEC regulations involving selling stocks must still be followed. Failure to comply with all relevant regulations may result in civil, administrative or even criminal penalties.

To learn more, read What's the difference between publicly- and privately-held companies?

RELATED FAQS
  1. What do states do with unclaimed property?

    Unclaimed property refers to personal accounts in financial institutions or companies that have had no activity and whose ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do financial advisors execute trades?

    Today, almost every investor invests through online brokerage accounts. Investors often believe that their trades are directly ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are ComputerShare's escheatment services?

    Escheatment is the process by which ownership of abandoned property is transferred to the state. Escheated property can include ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does escheatment affect a company's shareholders?

    Escheated property in the United States is a designation for personal property such as bank accounts, shares, insurance proceeds, ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do modern companies assess business risk?

    Before a business can assess or mitigate business risk, it must first identify probable or likely risks to its bottom line. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Why has emphasis on corporate governance grown in the 21st century?

    Corporate governance refers to operational practices, management protocols, and other governing rules or principles by which ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    Forest Laboratories: An Activist Investment Analysis

    Find out how patience and perseverance paid off big-time for billionaire activist Carl Icahn during his four-year fight with Forest Laboratories.
  2. Stock Analysis

    Tribune Media: An Activist Investment Analysis (TRCO)

    Learn more about the breakup of Tribune Company, once a powerful newspaper and broadcasting giant, and the role of activist investor Cliff Robbins.
  3. Stock Analysis

    PepsiCo: An Activist Investment Analysis (PEP)

    Read about the nearly two-year public feud between activist investor Nelson Peltz, head of Trian Fund Management, and iconic soft drink maker PepsiCo.
  4. Stock Analysis

    Hologic: An Activist Investment Analysis (HOLX)

    Read about a health care company that attracted activist investors Carl Icahn, Barry Rosenstein and Ralph Whitworth at the same time.
  5. Stock Analysis

    Air Products and Chemicals: An Activist Investment Analysis (APD)

    Learn about the productive, and uncommonly friendly, activist investment made by Bill Ackman into Air Products and Chemicals.
  6. Economics

    Why Enron Collapsed

    Enron’s collapse is a classic example of greed gone wrong.
  7. Stock Analysis

    4 Executives Who May Be On Thin Ice in 2016 (CMG,TWTR)

    Find out the reasons why these executives of underperforming companies may find themselves on the chopping block in the coming year.
  8. Stock Analysis

    Fortune Brands Home & Security: An Activist Investment Analysis (FBHS)

    Read about Bill Ackman's highly successful breakup of longtime holding company Fortune Brands in one of the most profitable examples of Wall Street activism.
  9. Stock Analysis

    Clorox: An Activist Investment Analysis (CLX)

    Read about the high-profile battle between The Clorox Company and billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, who had three offers repelled by the Clorox board.
  10. Stock Analysis

    McGraw Hill Financial: An Activist Investment Analysis (MHFI, MHE)

    Learn about the high-profile split between McGraw Hill Financial and McGraw Hill Education, and how a few activist investors changed the corporate landscape.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Corporate Accountability

    The performance of a publicly traded company in non-financial ...
  2. Share Repurchase

    A program by which a company buys back its own shares from the ...
  3. Board Of Directors - B Of D

    A group of individuals that are elected as, or elected to act ...
  4. Issued Shares

    The number of authorized shares that is sold to and held by the ...
  5. Employee Stock Option - ESO

    A stock option granted to specified employees of a company. ESOs ...
  6. Corporate Culture

    The beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company's employees ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  2. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  3. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  4. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  5. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  6. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
Trading Center