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Private Companies  

Resources for finding out about private companies.
Last Updated: Sep 30, 2014 URL: Print Guide

Getting Started Print Page

How to Research a Private Company

Private company research can be challenging and often requires looking for information in many places. Be creative and consider the research strategies outlined in this guide.

  • Use the company website
  • Find a company profile
  • Search the news
  • Check for a financial report.



What Is a Private Company?

Key characteristics

  • have no publicly traded shares
  • may have shareholders and issue shares but these shares are not traded on an exchange
  • not regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • do not have to file financial reports or make information about their operations available to the public
  • often discourage any type of press coverage

Other characteristics

  • while many are small, family-owned businesses, quite a few are large and well known companies
  • some are start-ups funded by private equity firms
  • some are distressed companies that have been "taken private"

Private companies you might have heard of

  • Chrysler
  • Mars candy
  • Toys "R" Us
  • Bloomberg
  • Harrah's

Parent, Subsidiary or Brand?

Researching a company you know nothing about? Use the Corporate Affiliations database to:

  • identify the company (public or private)
  • see its family tree
  • find a list of its products and brands.
  • Corporate Affiliations
    Directory of public and private companies and their subsidiaries, affiliates, divisions and joint ventures, both in the United States and abroad.

Have a Brand Name?

Search for the company that owns a brand name in this database.

  • Advertising REDBOOKS
    Profiles of U.S. and international companies with annual ad spending over $200,000.

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