IPOs Are Dwindling, So Is the Number of Public Companies

Jan 20, 2017

More and more promising companies are opting to stay private longer. After all, why bother with the hassle of shareholders and financial disclosures, when there's enough VC funding to go around? The proof is in the data—recent years have seen not only a precipitous decline in the number of companies that hold an initial public offering, there's been a dramatic decline in the overall number of publicly listed companies in the U.S., too.

65% decline in the number of U.S. IPOs from a 2014 high of 363. The flow of initial public offerings slowed considerably in 2016, hitting just 128—the lowest number since the financial crisis—with few signs of picking back up.

37% decline in the number of U.S.-listed companies since its 1997 high. With more companies opting for private fundraising over the hassle of public markets (looking at you, Uber), the number of public companies has fallen to 5,734, about on par with the early ’80s.

A version of this article appears in the February 1, 2017 issue of Fortune with the headline "Where Have All the Public Companies Gone?"

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