A private placement is an issue of shares or of convertible securities by a company to a select group of persons under Section 81 of the Companies Act, 1956, which is neither a rights issue nor a public issue. This is a faster way for a company to raise equity capital. A private placement of shares or of convertible securities by a listed company is generally known by name of preferential allotment. A listed company going for preferential allotment has to comply with the requirements contained in Chapter XIII of SEBI (DIP) Guidelines, in addition to the requirements specified in the Companies Act. In short, preferential issue means allotment of equity to some selected people by a company which has its share already listed.
In short a fresh allotment of shares to promoters, their friends and relatives on a preferential basis is called preferential allotment.