There are a few places around with people asking if "a company can own itself". However, I have not found any citations of actual law that prevents such an arrangement.

Which specific laws or combinations of laws prevent companies from owning themselves?

  • 2
    Where? This is probably jurisdiction dependant. Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 13:42
  • How exactly are you going to form a company that owns itself? Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 19:23
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    @Jack simple, just create a corporation, and then make a deal with it to sell it 100% of its stock (that you own) in exchange for personal services to you. Since you still control the corporation at the time the deal is made (you own 100% of the stock), you can force the company to do this. Or, simply cut out the contract and give the company it's own stock as a gift. Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 21:39
  • I'm in the USofA.
    – Him
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 1:09
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    The Sherman Antitrust Act in the US led to certain ownership structures becoming illegal if they restrained trade, that are adjacent to but not precisely this. For example, related companies holding each other's shares, if that led them to make noncompetitive deals
    – user662852
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 4:02

2 Answers 2


Some academics would describe any "non-profit" corporation that doesn't have transferrable shares as a company that owns itself.

For example, the Red Cross or the United Way or Harvard University, are effectively companies that own themselves.

In contrast, it would not apply to non-profits with transferrable interests such as country clubs or the New York Stock Exchange or an agricultural co-op which have members despite not being "for profit" entities themselves.


, s259a of the Corporations Law.

A company without shareholders can be would up under various provisions, for example, s1.5.6 for proprietary companies limited by shares.

  • This statute appears to be more about civil and criminal liability for persons who engage in unauthorized stock buyback activities, rather than what happens when the purchase of a company's stock by the company itself is already a fait accompli. That is, once the scheming executives have been fined, disbarred, or jailed, what happens to the corporation that owns itself? Is it "sold into slavery" to new stockholders at government auction? Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 21:36
  • @RobertColumbia a company without shareholders is wound up, assets are liquidated, liabilities are paid and any excess goes to the government.
    – Dale M
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 21:44

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