Public – A company is considered public if its shares of equity is traded on a stock exchange. Public companies are required to submit filings to the SEC, making information much easier to locate.
Private – A company is considered private if it is not traded on a stock exchange and is not owned by a larger parent company. They are not required to submit SEC filings, which can make finding financial information a bit trickier, if it is available.
Subsidiary – A company that operates under the control of a larger parent company is a subsidiary. The parent company may be a private or public company. The parent company may not disclose financial performance of individual subsidiaries. You may need to read the management discussion in SEC filings such as 10-K, study the information provided on the subsidiary’s and parent company’s websites, or find news articles in order to find information about financial performance and strategy.