Is a private company always less marketable than a public company?

BVWireIssue #96-2
September 15, 2010

“We tend to think so,” argues Jay Fishman (Financial Research Associates), also speaking at the BVR Divorce Summit on Monday.  But, if fact, “no one ever calls their broker and says ‘I want to sell 100% of Ford’.”  Selling large blocks of public shares, as Ashok Abbot (Business Valuation LLC) has shown, has many discounts built in–and is subject to oversight from PCAOB, FASB, and other regulators.

Compare this to a private company where today’s lunch “may have included a quorum of the Board.” Fishman’s point: no matter what Thornhill says about discounts, not all private companies are harder to sell than public companies.  Appraisers need to justify the circumstances that determine relative marketability challenges to determine any discount.

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