public company

noun British.
a company that has more than 50 shareholders and whose shares are offered for public subscription.
Compare private company. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
public company
Compare private company a limited company whose shares may be purchased by the public and traded freely on the open market and whose share capital is not less than a statutory minimum; public limited company

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

public company definition

A company that sells shares in itself to the public to raise capital. When a previously privately owned company offers shares, it is said to “go public.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Private equity is by no means unique in this respect: it happens at pretty much
  every public company, too.
Yet the idea of turning over private files to a public company is worrisome to
  privacy advocates.
It is a family-run public company, controlled by means of super-voting shares.
The money that the public company had left is then plowed into developing the
  formerly private company's products.
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