Read this section. The corporate structure is very attractive to businesses, particularly large and growing companies. Public corporations are listed on stock exchanges, offer their shares to the public, and are subject to the highest level of regulation. Private corporations are often owned by a small group of investors with a pre-existing relationship. These private corporations are also referred to as "closely held corporations." Because corporations get significant protections under the law, they must also be formed in strict accordance with the state statutes that govern corporate formation in the United States. Because corporate law is a function of state government, corporations have choices about where to incorporate, and what corporate formation requirements they wish to conform to. The state of Delaware, in particular, plays a very important role in the formation of corporations.