Company Research

Public or Private?

The best way to determine if a company is public (trades on a stock exchange and issues stock) or privately held is to look for it on Yahoo! Finance or go to Nexis Uni (replaces LexisNexis) . Go to Business, Company Dossier, Find a Company. Type in the company name  and click on Only Show Headquarters Locations.

You could also try the Company Information Flow Chart pdf

Publicly traded companies will have a ticker symbol (   ).

Yahoo! Finance   Look for a ticker symbol and check the news & performance of  the company you are researching.

Go here for Private Company Research

Competitive Analysis

Often you are asked to find information about a company and its competitors in a particular industry. Questions often asked can be some of the following:
  • Who are the major competitors? (See Finding the Competitors below)
  • News Articles, Analysis, Statistics. (See Find Articles, Analysis, Statistics below)
  • Market share/penetration. See Finding Market Share (below)
  • Products/Services. See Finding Products (below)
  • Distribution Channels (See the FAQ)
  • SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis on the company and its competition. See the following topic guide: SWOT Analysis.

Finding Competitors

Nexis Uni (replaces LexisNexis) . Choose Business, Company Dossier, Type in Company Name, Check the box - Only show headquarters locations. When a record comes up, look at the Profile, under SnapShot (left column), choose Competitors.

Find Articles, Analysis, Statistics

Use databases to find articles, analysis and statistics about companies and their competitors.
  • Business Insights: Essentials  . Search by Company name or ticker symbol (if publicly traded).  You can do an Article Search for the company and then look at the subdivisions (sub-headings). Be sure to look at Investment Reports if available.
  • Business Source Premier (Original Interface) . Search for name of company or ticker symbol in Company entity (search box). You may further limit by Source Type or Publication Type and by Geography.
  • Business Source Premier (Special Business Interface)
  • Nexis Uni (replaces LexisNexis) . You may search in a variety of ways. First go to News, Business and Industry and search for Company name in Headline & Lead Paragraph,  add additional terms if necessary and then choose Specify Date. You can also search Business, Company Dossier by Company Name or Ticker, limit to Headquarters. Then choose from various choices in the left hand column.
  • ABI/INFORM Collection

Finding Market Share

Who are the dominant players? This is often mentioned in industry overviews and articles. Search using the industry name or SIC/NAICS codes and terms such as: market share or rank or ranking or top or leaders.

A statistics portal that provides data on over 80,000 topics from more than 10,000 different sources.  The content is purely aggregated statistics, geared towards business and marketing statistical needs, with a focus on current awareness.  Easy-to-use infographics and tables are available for download as images to insert into presentations.
Business Insights: Essentials
Business Source Premier (Original Interface)
Business Source Premier (Special Business Interface)
ABI/INFORM Collection
Nexis Uni (replaces LexisNexis)

Finding Products & Services

  1. Go to Nexis Uni (replaces LexisNexis) , choose Business, Company Dossier. Put in the company name or ticker symbol (  ) and be sure to check Only Show Headquarters locations. The resulting page should give a Snapshot view, click on Brands to get a list. 
  2. Business Insights: Essentials . Go under Company Search, Search by Name or Ticker. You should get a listing with tabs. Choose Products.
  3. Go to the Company's website. Products are usually listed. They will also be usually listed in the Annual Report.

Using S.E.C. documents

Often SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) documents can help to develop a company analysis. The documents that one should look at are the Form 10-K (official, auditied yearly financial report), Form 10-Q (unaudited quarterly reports), and 8-k (covers a wide variety of business situuations such as joint ventures, arrangements, etc.) Be sure to look in the  Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) sections. You might also go to the company website (do a Google Search) and also look at the Annual Report.

* EDGAR Database (Securities and Exchange Commission) . Go to Search for Company Filings, then search using either name or ticker symbol.

SEC Info
Securities Information from the SEC EDGAR database. Search by Name, Industry, Business, SIC Code, Area Code,Topic, CIK, Accession Number, File Number, Date, ZIP. You may have to join but membership is free.

* Seeking Alpha . Here you will find transcripts of Corporate Conference Calls in which various management for the company will discuss everything from financials to new products and marketing. A great source of usually very detailed information about strategy and why a company may be introducing certain products and whom they are aimed at. Look under Business Intelligence, Transcripts.

Company Investor Relations Websites-most companies have an Investor Relations page. Type the name of the company you are interested in in a search engine and add the word, Investor Relations. Go there and find news, conference calls, annual reports, sustainability reports and other documents which will give insight into the inner workings of the company.

 Using SEC Documents (Powerpoint). Tips on documents which will help you find additional information on companies. ppt