Corporate Contraction

While Musk’s tweet about taking Tesla private was nonsense, it’s trend indicative. After peaking at roughly 8,000 firms in 1996, the number of US public companies has fallen steadily and is now about 4,000. Similarly, the number of IPOs has declined from about 600/year in the late 1990s to fewer than 200/year today. Why the de-equitizing? The surge in private capital, and its profoundly reduced investor scrutiny and legal requirements.

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