Reverse mergers are often the most expedient and cost-efficient way for private companies that hold shares that are not available to the public to begin trading on a public stock exchange. Prior to the rise of reverse mergers, the vast majority of public companies were created through the initial public offering (IPO) process.

In a reverse merger, an active private company takes control and merges with a dormant public company. These dormant public companies are called "shell corporations" because they rarely have assets or net worth aside from the fact that they previously had gone through an IPO or alternative filing process.

It can take a company from a matter of weeks to four months to complete a reverse merger. By contrast, the IPO process can take from six to 12 months and cost significantly more. The expediency and lower cost of the reverse merger process is beneficial to smaller companies in need of quick capital. Additionally, reverse mergers allow owners of private companies to retain greater ownership and control over the new company, which is a huge benefit to owners looking to raise capital without giving their companies away.

(For more on reverse mergers, read What Is a Reverse Merger With a Public Shell?)

This question was answered by Ken Clark.

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