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Private Company Research

Assistance for tracking down private company information in library, government & web resources.

Private Company Research -- Search Tips

This guide was created to provide a starting point and strategy for researching private companies. Use the tabs across the top of the page to explore all aspects of researching a private company.

A private company does not trade its stock on a stock market so it is not required to file detailed financial information with the SEC (Security Exchange Commission). A private company can be a large corporation, medium sized or a small (mom & pop) business. A private company can also be a subsidiary or division of a larger company or a large company with subsidiaries or divisions.

Private Companies are more difficult to find information about and more time consuming to research. The information that is available will be less specific and less certain than information available for public companies. Private company information may also be available in one resource and not another.

Keep these questions in mind as you conduct your research:

  • What do I know?
  • What do I need to know?
  • Can I settle for estimates, opinions or projections instead of hard facts?
  • Where do I look?
  • Who can I call?

Start at the company's website. You may use the information found on the company's website to benchmark data found elsewhere. Take note of contact information as you find it and keep in mind the bias of information posted by the company.

Continue your research in the Library:

  1. Look for a company profile or directory information.
  2. Search for articles & current news about your company. 
  3. Search government resources.
  4. Use trade or professional associations to search for information.
  5. Use the telephone and contact information found to validate information gathered and answer your questions.

Guidance For Researching Nonprofits