55 Chapter 12. Options and the Private Company In this lesson, you will learn how employees of private companies can use stock options and other forms of compensation. The Private Company I introduce you to the private company in Lesson 11, "Options and the IPO," in connection with initial public offerings (IPO). The reality is that most private companies don't make an IPO. They remain private with no intention or goal of changing ownership forms. Another reality is that there are many more private companies than publicly traded companies. Virtually every small business and many large ones are private companies. Private companies, also called closed corporations, or closely held corporations, usually have just a handful of owners. These companies are often family owned.