I'm looking to buy shares through a stockbroker, but before I give them the order to purchase shares from the company I want to invest in, I want to check beforehand if that company is listed. How can I check this?

  • 1
    Do you want to buy the shares from the company, that is, the seller is the company itself, or do you want to buy shares of the company, in which case the seller is whoever is currently offering to sell shares of that company at the price at which you are offering to buy? Jan 23, 2017 at 13:23
  • The latter. If for instance, I wanted to invest in McDonald's, then I want to find out if I can buy shares from that company. I suppose that McDonalds is, of course, a listed company, but this was just an example. Imagine this applied to a small business. Jan 23, 2017 at 13:50
  • The latter in my comment was the "buy from anybody" case, not the "buy from company directly" case but your explanation of the "latter" is that you want to buy shares in McDonald's directly from McDonald's. Are you sure you understand exactly what you are trying to find out? Jan 23, 2017 at 15:08
  • You're right; I didn't mean buying directly from McDonald's, I suppose that's not possible. So what I mean, is that I'll be buying shares through a company like IG or Clubfinance, and I want to check if I can buy shares from a particular business, e.g. McDonald's before I give the order to my stockbroker to purchase shares from that company. Jan 23, 2017 at 16:48
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    For information about buying stocks directly from a company, see Can I buy stocks directly from a public company? Note, however, that there are multiple answers that conflict with the accepted answer.
    – Ben Miller
    Jan 23, 2017 at 18:39

2 Answers 2


A company whose stock is available for sale to the public is called a publicly-held or publicly-traded company. A public company's stock is sold on a stock exchange, and anyone with money can buy shares through a stock broker.

This contrasts with a privately-held company, in which the shares are not traded on a stock exchange. In order to invest in a private company, you would need to talk directly to the current owners of the company.

Finding out if a company is public or private is fairly easy. One way to check this is to look at the Wikipedia page for the company. For example, if you take a look at the Apple page, on the right sidebar you'll see "Type: Public", followed by the stock exchange ticker symbol "AAPL". Compare this to the page for Mars, Inc.; on that page, you'll see "Type: Private", and no stock ticker symbol listed.

Another way to tell: If you can find a quote for a share price on a financial site (such as Google Finance or Yahoo Finance), you can buy the stock. You won't find a stock price for Mars, Inc. anywhere, because the stock is not publicly traded.


Hmm... Well there are several ways to do that:

  1. Go to any bank (or at the very least major ones). They can assist you with buying and/or selling stocks/shares of any company on the financial market. They keep your shares safe at the bank and take care of them. The downside is that they will calculate fees for every single thing they do with your money or shares or whatever.

  2. Go to any Financial broker/trader that deals with the stock market. Open an account and tell them to buy shares from company "X" and keep them. Meaning they won't trade with them if this is what you want.

  3. Do the same as point 2, but on your own. Find a suitable broker with decent transaction fees, open an account, find the company's stock code and purchase the stocks via the platform the broker uses.

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    The OP has accepted this answer but it is not in fact an answer to what the OP actually wants to know: How can he find out if he can buy shares in a small company directly from the company instead of from anybody who is offering shares for sale on a stock exchange? Jan 23, 2017 at 15:12
  • Yes, you're right @DilipSarwate. Thanks for the help Emil, but I misunderstood the whole thing. Jan 23, 2017 at 16:50
  • @DilipSarwate It looks like with the OPs recent edit and comment, he has changed his mind about what he is asking, making this a valid answer again.
    – Ben Miller
    Jan 23, 2017 at 18:34

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