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Company and Industry Research: Researching Private Companies

Doing Research on Private Companies

The majority of US businesses are privately owned, which means that they do not sell stock to the public.  They are not required to make detailed reports to the US government, therefore, it is harder to find information about private companies.  The vast majority of these private companies are small, home-based initiatives with few if any employees aside from the owner. 

Mergent Intellect
has at least directory information on many private companies.

Forbes Largest Private Companies  This list is updated every year and can be found at the Forbes website by clicking on LISTS and then clicking on “Private Companies.”  This list offers minimal information about the companies, such as revenue for previous year, revenue change, net profit, and employees.  Further information on these companies can be found in Mergent Intellect.

Inc. Magazine’s 500: America’s fastest growing private companies can be accessed through the Inc. Magazine homepage and clicking on the Inc. 500/5000 tab.  The list contains information on revenue, growth, link to company web site, and number of employees.

LexisNexis Academic Universe’s Company Dossier also has a directory of private companies.  Under "Get Company Info", click on the "Company Dossier" link, then choose "All Private" in the "Company Type" drop-down menu.

LexisNexis Corporate Affiliations U.S. Private Companies “Who Owns Whom” (REF HG4057.A217) is a print source available in the library’s reference section.  Volumes V and VI provide information on private companies that have their headquarters in the United States.  The library has the following editions in print:  Schaumburg = 2011; Chicago = 2010.

U.S. Corporate Registries  A listing by state of government agencies that oversee company registrations.  From the U.K.'s Companies House.

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