Going Public

Access to capital tops list of motivations.

As the CEO of a private firm, "you have a lot of your personal and economic net worth tied up in the organization. . . . The decisions you make can have a huge impact on a lot of people and on the people who own the company," observes Marc LeBaron, chairman and CEO of Lincoln Plating, a privately held Lincoln, Neb., company that specializes in the functional and decorative finishing of metal parts. "But I think it's worth it. If you get the right people -- and we do focus on talent a lot -- they make good decisions," says LeBaron. "[One of] the only two circumstances [to go public] would be if, for whatever reason, we couldn't internally generate the capital we need to grow the business." (That Lincoln Plating is generating capital internally to grow the business challenges the notion that the absence of access to equity capital severely constrains private companies' ability to grow.) "Quite frankly the other [set of circumstances for going public] would be just of a personal nature: If I got to a point I though I needed personal liquidity for some reason, clearly being public would be an option," says LeBaron. "But I don't know that would be at the top of my list."

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