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Company Information  

Much material in this guide adapted from Company Information Look Up: A to Z Topics by Colette Holmes, Business Librarian, Folsom Library, RPI Troy
Last Updated: May 5, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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where do i find company information?

To pick the best/right resources, state the questions you want to answer before you look.

  • Do you need a company profile?
  • Financials?
  • News or magazine articles?
  • The size of the company?
  • Its location?
  • Whether it's public or private?

There is great information on free web sites, but some of the best resources, subscription databases, usually charge a fee. Subscription databases select, screen, and index data for inclusion, and are extremely reliable research tools. The library offers several subscription databases with company information that are accessible off or on campus.


public or private: what's the difference?

Public Companies

  • Sell shares to general public
  • Regulated by Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Must report information like financials, subsidiaries, executive compensation
  • Much easier to research than private companies

Private Companies

  • Privately owned or held
  • Don't have to disclose financial information or file with SEC
  • Much harder to research than public companies

Subsidiary, Branch or Division

  • Subsidiary: organization with stock over 50% owned by parent company.
  • Branch: secondary location of a business; carries parent company name & reports to company headquarters.
  • Division: separate operating unit of a corporation. May have its own officers, but is not incorporated and does not issue stock. Divisions may have a business name different from parent company name.

1. company web site

  • For current company information, start with company web site.
  • Use Google ( to locate a company web site.
    • You may learn here if company is public or private.
    • If company is publicly traded, note ticker symbol & stock exchange
    • Also look for annual reports, 10Ks, and press releases
    • Financials are generally in investor relations section of site
  • For more information see Locating a Company's Web Site.

    2. public or private?

    How do I find out  if a company is public or private?

    • Go to Hoover's database
    • Select Companies tab & type company name in search box
    • Click company name in results list
    • Scroll down to KEY INFORMATION section and look in Company Type for status

    How do I find information when company is subsidiary, branch or division?

    • If you're not coming up with much, try searching with the parent company name. For example, ABC is a subsidiary of Disney, so you would search on Disney and then look for information about ABC within your results.
    • Use the Hoover's database to find parent companies of major businesses like ABC. For smaller businesses, see company's web site or press releases. 

      3. ticker symbol

      If your company is public, get the ticker symbol before you do more searching:

      • Ticker symbols are unique letter codes assigned to public companies
      • Best way to search for public company information
        • Avoid company name confusion
        • Save typing time
      • Where is it listed?
        • Company web site
        • Ticker symbol look up at Quicken
        • Most subscription databases include ticker symbol with company information

        4. NAICS codes

        Also get the NAICS and/or SIC codes for the industry that your company falls under before you start your research. The codes are useful when comparing a company to the rest of the industry.

        SIC vs. NAICS PowerPoint Introduction


        • NAICS 2007
          Identical to NAICS 2002 for thirteen of twenty sectors. Part of information sector was restructured. Industry changes affect the boundaries of three sectors.
        • NAICS 2002
          Identical to NAICS 1997 for fourteen of twenty sectors. Construction & wholesale trade substantially changed, but revisions also modify some retail classifications & organization of  information sector. Minor boundary adjustments affect administrative & support services & mining.
        • Correspondence Tables for SIC 1987 & NAICS 1997 .

        Definitions/Descriptions for Codes


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