Text 1. Going Public

Companies sometimes obtain a stock exchange quotation. Why do they do it?  Private and quoted companies are similar in one way: both have shareholders who own a part of their business. However, a private company cannot invite the general public to buy its shares and its shareholders cannot sell their shares unless the other members agree.

Anyone can buy the shares of a quoted company. They are freely bought and  sold in a special market — the Stock Exchange. When a company wishes to be quoted, it applies to the Stock Exchange for a quotation, which is a statement of the share price. If the application is successful, the Stock Exchange deals in its shares and publishes their price each day.

There are three main reasons why companies obtain a quotation. First, many companies need to raise money to expand their businesses. For example, they want to build a bigger factory or produce a new range of goods. To finance this, they could try to get the money from a bank. But perhaps they have already borrowed heavily, so they do not want to increase their debt.

Secondly, there are companies which have been built up by their owners over the years. As the owner gets older, he does not want all his money to be tied up in the business. Therefore he sells part of the company to the public.

Finally, there is the type of business which started many years ago. It has now become a large company and its shares are spread among various members of a family. Some may have no interest in the company, while others have different ideas about how to run it. Shareholders disagree strongly, so it becomes difficult to run the company properly. In such a case, the only solution may be to obtain a quotation on the Stock Exchange.

There is one reason why the owners of a company may not wish to obtain a  quotation. If the directors are the only shareholders - or have very large shareholdings - in their company, they may be getting substantial benefits from it.

For example, the business may own things like the directors' houses, their cars and even their wives' cars. It pays perhaps for their petrol and holidays, which are business expenses. In this case, it may be better not to become a quoted company.


1. What is the main difference between a private and quoted company?

2. How does a company obtain a stock exchange quotation?

3. Why do some companies prefer not to ask the bank to finance their expansion?

4. Explain the meaning of these phrases: a) tied up, b) substantial benefits.

5. What problem can arise if several members of a family have shareholdings in a


6. Some directors do not want their companies to obtain a stock exchange quotation.


Text 2. Franchising

Suppose you have a friend who wants to run his/her own business. He/she has little experience or capital (perhaps £10,000-£15,000). What advice would you give your friend?

Franchising is a means of marketing and distributing goods. The franchisor, normally a large business, supplies the franchisee, usually an individual, with products or services for sale to the public. The franchisee pays for the right to sell the product or service in a certain area, and also makes annual payments - known as royalties - to the franchising company.

This type of business has always been popular in the United States. It developed particularly in the 1950s and 1960s when there was a boom in fast-food restaurants such as McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Now about one-third of all retail sales in the US are through franchised outlets, and there are about 500,000 enterprises operating in this manner.

The system is spreading quickly throughout the world. In Europe companies using franchising include: Wimpy International (fast-food); Dayvilles (ice cream); Budget Rent-a-Car (car hire); Pronuptia (wedding dresses); Ziebart (car rust-


proofing). Other countries are beginning to follow Europe's example. China is producing and bottling Coca-Cola under a franchise agreement with the American company.

It is not surprising that franchising is growing fast. If it works properly, it has advantages for both sides. The franchisor is able to expand his business without reducing his capital or borrowing money. In fact he gets additional capital from an outside source - the franchisee. Another advantage is that the franchise holders will probably be hard-working. This is important, especially in fast-food outlets where the hours of opening are long.

The franchisee gains from the arrangement as well. Franchisees are usually interested in business, but do not have much experience or capital. They want to work for themselves, but are afraid to take too many risks.

To purchase a franchise, they may have to pay £20,000 or £30,000-part of which they can borrow from a friendly bank.

For their investment, franchisees buy the right to use the trade name of the franchisor, and they get advice about running the business. Also the franchising company will provide them with training, materials and equipment. They will be able to take advantage of the company's specialized knowledge and its ability to buy in bulk. Finally, the franchisor will very likely be promoting the brand name of the business with national advertising.

The franchising system gives people the chance to set up in business without taking great risks. If they choose their franchise wisely, they will have the opportunity to make a small fortune.


  1. Explain the meaning of these words or phrases:

(i)                franchisor,                                          (ii)     franchisee,

(iii)           fast-food outlet,                                  (iv)   brand name,

(v)             buy in bulk.

2. What facts show that franchising is becoming popular?


3. Why do companies use franchising to expand their business?

4. Why do people buy franchises?

5. What are the problems, do you think, of

(a) being a franchising company,

(b) running a franchise?


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