Can a public traded company invest in a privately owned company for equity?
Short answer is yes.
Longer answer is that each company may have internal guidelines about such investments; and depending on the size of the investment, there may be reporting requirements and standards of reasonableness to be met.
You don't tug on Superman's cape; you don't spit into the wind; you don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger; And you don't get legal advice from a free Q&A page on the Internet. The above is a general statement of the law or just my opinion. I am not saying whether it applies to your situation or not because I don't know the details and youâ€™ve not hired me as your attorney.
Limited Liability Company (LLC) Lawyer
There is no legal restriction on an investment in a non-public company by one that is publicly held. It happens frequently. Many "start up" owners have in mind to make their company attractive to a large, publicly traded company so they can get acquired. The hard part, of course is creating a company which has true value which will be attractive to an established, publicly traded company.
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Securities / Investment Fraud Attorney
It certainly can. However, the officers of the company have a fiduciary duty not to act in their own self-interest.
The foregoing is not legal advice nor is it in any manner whatsoever meant to create or impute an attorney/client relationship.