"Public company": 1. Public companies may - subject to complying with certain conditions - be allowed to offer their shares or other securities for sale to the public or to a section of the public. To protect the public, public companies are therefore subject to greater regulation and requirements to report fuller financial information within shorter timeframes, compared with private companies. 2. The term 'public company' is also used informally to refer to a company whose shares are already listed on an exchange and held by members of the public. More strictly however, such a company is a 'listed company' and the use of the term 'public company' in this sense should be avoided.