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Private Company Research: Research Tutorial

Note about Private Company Research

What Makes Private Company Research Uniquely Challenging?

A private company is a company whose shares are not traded on any stock exchange.  A private company can be a large corporation, medium sized or a small (mom & pop) business.  Private companies generally are not required to file any documents with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  Therefore, finding information (particularly financial information) on private companies can be difficult and time consuming.

The information that is available will be less specific and less certain than information available for public companies. You may have to accept estimates or projections (or even make your own estimates) when hard data is not disclosed.

Best Bet

General Steps to Researching a Private Company

Use Directories

Determine whether the company is public or private and whether it is a parent or a subsidiary.  Use directories to find contact information and information such as number of employees or estimated annual sales.  See the "Directories" tab of this guide.

Look for Company Profiles

Company profiles may be available for some larger private companies, and may even include estimated sales figures.  See the "Company Profiles" tab of this guide.

Visit the Company's Website

Private companies are not required to disclose information in the same way that public companies are, but they often still choose to share information on their corporate website.  Be aware that the potential for bias exists.

Find Current News and Articles

Especially if you are looking for information about a relatively large private company, searching article databases may be a good way to turn up information about new product launches, marketing endeavors, and other noteworthy events.  See the "Articles" tab of this guide.

Understand the Industry

Knowing something about the context in which your company operates can be useful.  Look for profiles of the industry as a whole to better understand the business climate your company is confronting.  See the "Industry Profiles" tab of this guide.

Need Help?

Please contact the Judy Geczi, the Business Librarian, for assistance researching a particular company.  You may also want to look at the book Researching Private Companies by Washington Researchers for more tips.

Your Librarian

Judy Geczi's picture
Judy Geczi
Pius XII Memorial Library
Room 106B
(314) 977-3595

Subject: Business