A private company is a company that is not traded on any stock exchange. Private companies as a general rule do not have to file any documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Consequently, finding information on private companies can be quite challenging.
See also: Public company research
Mergers & Acquisitions
Zephyr contains M&A, IPO, private equity and venture capital deals. No minimum deal value is applied; Zephyr is an all-inclusive database of all deal sizes and includes deal rumors. Pan-European deals date back to 1997 and pan-North American deals to 2000. ZEPHYR has had global coverage since January 2003.
Thomson ONE Banker allows users to monitor market share, track volume trends and recent M&A activity. Coverage is global and updated daily.
Hint: Select "Deals Analysis" from the left-hand menu to access M&A analysis.
Lists of Private Companies
Hoover's Online Pro
Find up-to-date information on private companies. Hoover's, widely recignized as a leading provider of corporate data, delivers in-depth industry analyses, information on a company's location/s, summary financials, top competition, top officers, and more.
Standard and Poor's NetAdvantage
NetAdvantage contains a directory of corporations, executives and directors for many private companies.
Hint: To access the private company directories, select the company tab and then select "Register Private Co." from the appropriate drop-down menu.
This directory allows you to search private business listings by company name, yellow page headings, NAICS and SIC codes, executive names, sales volume and number of employees.
Use Companies ... Company Profiles link to search US Private Companies
Inc. 50000. The Fastest Growing Private Companies in America
The Inc. 5,000 is an expansion of the Inc. 500, which was introduced in 1982. The Inc. 5,000 offers a comprehensive look at the 5000 fastest growing private companies in America.
Red Herring's 100 Awards
For 10 years, Red Herring has compiled a list of the top 100 private technology companies. The site includes the top 100 companies in the Global, Americas, Europe, and Asia categories. To be included on the list companies must be technology-based and privately held.
Forbes - America's Largest Private Companies
The companies on this list all have at least $2 billion in annual revenues and either too few shareholders to be required to file financial statements with the Securities & Exchange Commission or shares whose ownership is restricted to some group, like family members or employees. The list can be seached or ordered by rank, name, state, industry, revenue, or number of employees.
Dun's Business Rankings
A print publication that ranks over 25,000 of the United States' leading private and public businesses by size as measured by sales volume and number of employees. These indicators are also used to rank these businesses within each state, within industry categories, and within the private/foreign-owned designation.
News and Articles
A comprehensive database providing full-text access to news articles and scholarly articles on companies.
ABI/INFORM Complete contains historical business journals, local and regional business information, scholarly, comprehensive business research from periodicals worldwide and up-to-date company news, marketing trends, product information and market competition.
Includes almost 8000 publications including major business periodicals such as BusinessWeek, Barron's, Fortune, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal.
Provides the full text of over 6,000 sources including newspapers, journals, news wire services, newsletters, campus publications, company reports, case law, government documents, trade publications, broadcast transcripts, and selected reference works.
Hard to find private companies
National Secretary of State Site
All 50 states make some level of private business incorporation information available online. In a few instances only limited information (such as name availability) is retrievable. The majority of the states, however, have a site that provides a range of private company business records.
LinkedIn is an online social networking site for professionals. Use this site to find information on private company size, key company employees and new hires.
Patent & Trademark Office
Patents and trademarks are often one of the few public records available for new private companies involved in science and technology fields.
FedSpending.org provides information on government grants and contracts. Use this database to search for private companies that have secured contracts and/or grants with the federal government.
VentureBeatProfiles is a platform to discover, research, and share information and opinions about internet startup companies. The site includes company profiles that give management information, board of directors information, products and/or services produced, funding information and competitors.
Jigsaw provides an online business directory of company information and more than 9 million business professionals.