When people reference a business's market cap, why are they referring to the value of the business as a whole?

Doesn't market cap just represent the value of the outstanding shares and not the company as a whole? If companies only issue a small percent of their business value in stock, then doesn't that mean the market cap is only the value of a certain percentage of a business and not the whole firm?

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October 2017

Market capitalization represents the value of all outstanding shares, whether or not they are all publicly traded.  It's the number of outstanding shares times the market price of each share.  When companies offer their shares to the public, the offerings include only a portion of the total number of shares outstanding.  Those not offered are usually held by those who made the initial investments in the company.  Even so, market cap is the current market value of the whole firm.  

October 2017
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October 2017