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Private Companies

Resources for researching private companies including non-profits.

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

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