Business: Going Private

During stock market slumps, many a corporation president entertains the Mittyesque dream of buying his entire company back from the public. Now stock prices have dipped so low, even while corporate profits generally perk higher, that some firms can actually afford to do it. Most are small companies that went public during the go-go '60s, when joining a booming market was an excellent way to raise capital and also provided the means—through attractive stock options—for luring talented executives. "Now every motivation seems to have gone away. Probably 80%-90% of the over-the-counter traded companies should not be publicly held at all," says...

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