Explained: Private Equity vs Public Equity; Here's all about the benefits, overview and much more | Business Upturn

Explained: Private Equity vs Public Equity; Here’s all about the benefits, overview and much more

Understanding the differences between private equity and public equity is crucial for businesses and investors, as they navigate the complexities of raising capital and making informed investment decisions.


As companies strive to secure funding for their growth, they face the choice between two paths: private equity and public equity. Each option has its own advantages and considerations, and many companies utilize both forms of equity at different stages of their journey. Gaining a clear understanding of these two approaches is essential to grasp the fundamentals of business ownership.

Equity: The Common Ground

Before delving into the disparities between private and public equity, it is important to recognize their underlying similarity: equity itself. Simply put, equity represents a share of a company’s overall value. Regardless of whether the equity is held privately or publicly, its value corresponds to the amount that would be returned to the holder if all company assets were liquidated and debts settled.


Private Equity vs. Public Equity: An Overview

Although the terms private equity and public equity share similar names, they are distinct in nature. Public equity refers to equity derived from trading on public stock markets, while private equity involves stakes that are not publicly traded. However, both private and public equity generally aim to achieve a favorable return on investment.

Public Equity: Stocks and Shareholders


Public equity, often referred to as “stocks,” constitutes one of the three primary asset classes alongside bonds and cash. An example of public equity is when a shareholder purchases stock in a company, obtaining partial ownership in return for their investment.

Private Equity: Investments and Limited Partnerships

Private equity operates differently as it involves equity that is not publicly traded. Typically, a private equity firm seeks potential investors for private companies, forming a limited partnership that creates a private equity fund comprising the investors’ contributions. The firm manages these investments, deducting a fee, while the investors maintain ownership of the fund itself.

The Benefits of Private Equity

Venturing into private equity often requires substantial capital. However, for those who can access it, private equity offers several key advantages:

1. Expertise and Guidance: Private equity firms provide specialized expertise and guidance beyond what is typically available in public equity markets.
2. Connections: Private equity firms offer access to influential thought-leaders such as CEOs and other C-suite executives in various companies.
3. Proven Returns: Private equity often yields proven returns that may be harder to achieve with public equity.
4. Resources for Growth: Private equity groups possess substantial resources to fuel growth within companies.
5. Special Incentives: Private equity firm management may offer unique incentives to contributors.

Determining the Better Option

Comparing public and private equity is not a straightforward task, as they differ significantly. Private equity entails higher risk but potentially greater rewards. Additionally, entering the world of private equity requires more substantial capital compared to investing in the stock market. The choice between public and private equity depends entirely on individual circumstances and preferences.

Public equity is generally perceived as safer and more accessible for average investors, making it an ideal starting point for those seeking entry into the equity market. Over time, transitioning into private equity may become an attractive choice, whether as an investor or a fund manager.

Balancing Private and Public Equity

In reality, many companies employ a combination of private and public equity at different stages of their lifecycle. They often begin with private equity as they embark on their growth journey, eventually transitioning to public equity through an initial public offering. By understanding the ownership structure and the use of private or public equity, individuals can become more knowledgeable potential investors.

In conclusion, private and public equity offer distinct pathways for companies to raise capital and achieve their goals. By comprehending the nuances of each approach, businesses and investors can make informed decisions that align with their unique circumstances and objectives.