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Management: Company Research

Subject guide for Management

Your Librarian

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Sheila Devaney
Research & Instruction Department
Main Library

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Overview of Company Information

It is easier to find information about public companies (those that sell stock to shareholders) than about private companies (those that are privately owned by an individual or a group).  Public companies in the United States are required by law to file documents with the Securities and Exchange commission (SEC).  These include the 10K (annual)and 10Q (quarterly) reports.  In addition, public companies issue an annual report to shareholders.

When looking for information about a company, consider both information from the company itself (e.g., the company website, SEC filings, press releases, etc.) as well as information about the company written by others (e.g., newspaper articles, analyst reports, articles by professors, etc.).

Finding information about a company includes the following steps:

  • Get an overview of the company, find out if it is public or private
  • Find the company website and review it carefully, particularly the sections for investors or media/press.
  • If the company is public, find relevant 10K and 10Q reports and annual reports to shareholders
  • Search for news, magazine and other periodical articles for information.  This may be the only way to find information on private companies.
  • If the company is public, search for analyst and brokerage reports. These sometimes contain an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).
  • Identify competitors.

Annual Reports - Public Web Sites

Try these sites if you cannot locate the annual report you need at the company website. You may need to purchase the report from these sources.

Analyst Reports and SWOT Analysis

Look here for expert opinions on companies:

Company Overviews & Current Financials

Company Overviews - Public Web Sites

Historical Company Information, Annual Reports and SEC Filings

Private Companies

Information on private companies can be sparse. Private companies are not required to file any financial data in the U.S., with exception of registration data filed with the Secretary of State, in the state where they are registered.

Private company information can be difficult to find. These databases have information on private companies.

Bureau Van Dijk Orbis

Global private and listed company information, standardized for cross-border comparisons including financial data, company profiles, credit risk information, private equity data and portfolios, and links to EIU Country Profiles.

D&B Hoovers (formerly Hoover's Online)

Search for company profiles, executives, news, and industry information. Company profiles include business focus, history, competition, SWOT analysis, executive, news coverage, and financial reports. Industry information includes access to market research, industry norms, industry ratios.


Provides key financial data,  number of employees, company contacts, whether family-owned or private equity-backed, M&A history, and competitor lists for private U.S. companies. The amount of data available varies by company. Registration with a valid UGA email address is required to use the database

Also, often 'local press' have more stories on a locally based company than national newspapers. (e.g. San Jose Mercury News versus The New York Times). Local newspapers can be found on ProQuest or Factiva.

Also, please don't forget that:

Secretaries of State links - Coordinated Legal Tech

Company Web Sites

Company web sites can provide a wealth of information, particularly for public companies.  Look for press releases, investor information including presentations and events and filings such as SEC filings, annual reports or corporate social responsibility or "community" reports.  Use information from the company carefully and watch for bias or an overly-optimistic interpretation of factual data.