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Resources for Public Versus Private Companies

HAVING TROUBLE LOCATING INFORMATION ON A COMPANY? Resources for Researching Privately Held Versus Publicly Held Companies (Use the Tabs Above)!

Step 1:  Determine if the company is a private or limited corporation versus a fully traded public corporation.  You can either go to Google and perform a simple search such as "is xxxx a fully traded publicly held corporation" and/or log into, select "Databases A-Z," under the "H's" scroll down and select "Hoover's".  Once in the Hoover's database, type the name of your company into the search box.  Generally, the first entry that will display in the drop down list of all the company stores will be the headquarters of the company, and this is the page you will usually want to use.  Note, if you do not enter the correct legal name of the company or misspell it, it will not display.  Use Google to check spelling/correct name if you are unsure.

Once you access the company page in Hoover's, if the "dashboard" (the blue boxes at the top of the page with the heading "Company Index") has boxes that are not blue, it means it is NOT a fully traded publicly held corporation and there is no or limited publicly available information, with one exception:  If the box for "Family Tree" is not blue, it simply means that company has never been bought out.  If you have the choice, always select a fully publicly traded company to research because by law it must disclose key information about the company!

If your company is a fully traded publicly held corporation, the owners (shareholders) have limited personal liability, but the corporation is subject to the regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a federal agency, and must fully disclose key financial and operational information.  This information is available and published in the annual "10K Reports" for the corporation, as required by the SEC.  Hoover's database is a premier source of the most current company 10K reports available anywhere, anytime! The 10K reports for a fully publicly traded company can be accessed from Hoover's for a specific company from the dashboard.  Click on the blue box labeled "Financials".  From the dropdown menu display scroll down and select "SEC Reports".  From the Page of various SEC report filings, the most useful is generally the "Annual 10K Reports"--check the box.   A chronological listing of all SEC reports available for the company, in order of most current, will display in the center of the page.  Select the 10K report you wish to view/print.

Step 2: If your company is a private or limited corporation it means, by definition, it is not required by law to disclose financial and other key information about the company's operations.  Because the company elected to be "private" or "limited" it incurs more liability exposure to individual owners.  The trade-off is that private or limited partnerships/corporations may keep much of it's financial and operational information "private"--it is not required to publicly disclose that information, which is the opposite of fully traded corporations, which are required to disclose.  Companies which wish to keep financial and operational information "proprietary" (secret) elect NOT to be fully traded publicly held corporations.  You will NOT find much key information available on privately held companies.  If you have the choice, always select a fully publicly traded company to research because by law it must disclose key information about the company!

Database Resources for All Types of Companies

Database Reports, Presentations, Cases, Statistical Data, and Charts (All Companies & Industries)