Private Company Research

Overview of Researching Private Companies

These are companies which do not trade on stock exchanges. It is often difficult to find very much information on these companies, other than a brief directory listing, estimated net sales, and sometimes news articles. These articles can be found by doing a search in various regional newspapers, trade publications and newswires. The newswires which can be very helpful, though are usually only used by and report on larger companies. One can also search Secretary of State Corporate Records or similar for additional information as well as doing a search using any of the wide variety of search engines available. Another place for information are the various types of social media available.

Use the How to Find Company Information Flow Chart to Determine if Company is Public, Private or a Subsidiary pdf

Search Engines and Social Media

You can try various search engines and social media sites. Be aware that most companies have a web site and often use their site for sales and marketing, listing of products and services, job openings, etc. You might find additional information via social media such as Twitter, Facebook, etc or through various newsgroups aimed at industries, etc. Take a hard look at what you find on these sites!



Nexis Uni (replaces LexisNexis) -Go to Business, choose Company Dossier (option on bottom of page), From the menu, choose Company Type -Private, Headquarters location. is a business intelligence portal that provides detailed information on 32 million companies and organizations. Everything from product, competitor, supplier, and financial performance data.
Forbes-Yearly Lists
Various yearly published lists by Forbes Magazine. These include:America's Largest Private CompaniesAmerica's Best Small CompaniesWorld's BillionairesForbes 2000 Others including People, Places, Sports, Technology and Education among others
Inc. 5000 Company List
List of 5,000 private companies compiled by Inc. magazine. Published yearly.
Private Companies Worldwide from BusinessWeek
Searchable by region and/or name or alphabetically. Gives basic directory information.

Library Databases

Business Insights: Essentials
Company profiles, brand information, rankings, investment reports, market research reports, SWOT reports, market share information, company histories, chronologies, journal articles, and interactive charts.  Search this database to find detailed company and industry news and information.
US Newsstream
U.S. Newsstream enables users to search current U.S. news content, as well as archives that stretch back into the 1980s. It features top newspapers, wires, broadcast transcripts, blogs, and news sites in full-text format. U.S. Newsstream provides key national and regional news sources from the U.S. and includes exclusive and preferred access to top titles, including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Newsday, and Chicago Tribune. All titles are cross searchable on the ProQuest platform.

ABI/INFORM Collection
Search all three ABI/Inform databases together here or search one at a time below. ABI/INFORM Complete provides current and historic abstracts and many full-text articles from over 2,800 business and management journals, including hundreds of titles from outside the U.S. The database covers finance, management, marketing, operations, accounting, business conditions, sports and business, entertainment, and case studies.

Nexis Uni (replaces LexisNexis) -There are various parts that you will wish to search. Among these are: News-which has selections such as Newspapers (including a state by state listing), Newswires, Business and Industry. You will also want to search the Companies section which has a wide variety of directories and screening tools. The U.S. Legal section may have information about lawsuits, patents, etc. that the company is involved in.
Business Source Premier (Original Interface)
Business topics: management, economics, finance, accounting, international business, etc. SWOT analysis on selected companies.
New York State Newspapers
A database of several newspapers published in the state of New York, including the Buffalo News, Herald American (Syracuse), Indian Country Today (Oneida), New York Daily News, New York Observer (NY), New York Post (NY), New York Times, Newsday (Melville), Post-Standard (Syracuse), Post-Star (Glens Falls), Times Herald-Record (Middletown), Times Union (Albany), and the Watertown Daily Times.
Newspaper Source
Provides access to both national and international newspapers, and contains abstracts and indexing from the following papers (cover to cover): the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today. Abstracting and indexing for all titles and full text for the Christian Science Monitor begins 1/1/95. Coverage includes everything except obituaries (exclusive of famous people), sports tables, ads/classifieds, stock prices, and weather. Additional data provided by Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News: full text articles from 105 contributor newspapers. Additional data also provided by Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service: full text articles from 40 contributor newspapers. Total coverage includes over 500,000 articles.

City and Regional Publications

City and Regional Magazines on the Web
Compilation of various city and regional magazines with links to their websites.
American City Business Journals
The Business Journals' sites features local business & industry news from 41 different markets around the nation along with a full menu of tools to help business owners and operators manage their businesses more successfullyRequires registration and not all parts are free.
Local and Regional Business Periodicals on the Web
Listing of local and regional business publications. Gives limited access but may prove useful.

Public Record Information

Additional information on private companies can often be found in records and documents available to the public with a little digging. Thes can include such things as business incorporation records, tax documents, legal documents including case records, patent documents etc.

Free Public Record Sites.
Virtual Gumshoe
Listing and links to various investigative tools and sources such as death records, public and vital records, etc.
Secretaries of State-from Coordinated
Links to all 50 states Secretaries of State. Search for corporations, business & professional licensing.
Dynamic Small Business Association Search
A database from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA does not make any representation as to the accuracy of any of the data included, other than certifications relating to 8(a) Business Development, HUBZone or Small Disadvantaged Business status.  Search by name, zip code, women and minority owned, etc.
United States Patent and Trademark Office -Search for a company's patents and/or trademarks.

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Business Librarian
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