Companies Don't Have to Go Public, So Why Do They?

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By going public, Facebook joined a diverse group of companies. Some, like Apple and Amazon, have had huge success selling pieces of their company to the public. Others, like Enron and Tyco, couldn't take the public scrutiny and failed as a result. Since taking a company public requires jumping through a lot of hoops, fewer companies are doing it. So why go public at all?

Adrian Wooldridge is the Schumpeter columnist and management editor at The Economist.