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XMBA 4360 - Strategic Marketing: Company Research

Contents

Best Bets for Company Research

These are some databases with which to start conducting company research. This page also has tips for doing this kind of investigation, and some tutorials.

Mergent Intellect is a database with global company information. 

ReferenceUSA is ideal for conducting company research on a local U.S. level.

Orbis is recommended if you are trying to find financials for private companies in Europe.

Use PrivCo for U.S. private company research. 

Be sure to use databases like ABI/Inform Collection or Business Source Complete, located under the  "Databases for Articles" tab of this guide, to find out if anything has been written about these companies in magazines, trade periodicals, or newspapers.

Starting Company Research Tip

When doing company research one should determine whether a company is public, privately held, or a subsidiary.  Mergent Intellect can help you determine this. If you are doing research on a local level where there are many small businesses, use a database like ReferenceUSA to determine this.  

Is Your Company Publicly Traded?

If you have established that a company is publicly traded, you will be able to find many sources that provide financial summaries, investment analyst reports (such as those provided via ThomsonOne), as well as their 10-Ks or 20-Fs.  The sources in this section will help you find this type of information. 

10-Ks are the annual reports that U.S. public companies must submit to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).  20-Fs are the annual reports that foreign companies trading in the U.S. file to the SEC.  Another good source for the 10-Ks or other annual reports is the company's website.   These reports are usually located in the "Investor Relations" section of a company's website. 

Tips for Conducting Private Company and Subsidiaries Research

In general you will not be able to find detailed financials for the majority of subsidiaries or private companies that exist in the U.S. However, PrivCo does have information for over 850,000 privately-held U.S. companies, and there are some subsidiaries that may be trading independently of the parent.  Here are some tips for private company and subsidiaries research:

  • Search PrivCo.
  • Use a database like ReferenceUSA which will provide estimated sales figures for these types of companies.
  • The Book of Lists is a good source when looking for top companies for an industry in a metro area like Denver and throughout the U.S. (under the "Databases for Subsidiary / Private Company Research" link).
  • MarketLine Company Profiles Authority and ABI/Inform Collection (published by a research firm called Canadean) have selected company reports that include large, privately-held companies.
  • Most companies have websites, so you should comb through them for information.
  • If the company is a subsidiary, identify the parent.  Then determine whether the parent is publicly traded or not. If the parent is trading publicly, information about the subsidiary may be provided in the 10-K, including revenue figures for two or three years.
  • Use databases like ABI/Inform Collection, or others that are listed in the  "Databases for Articles" tab of this guide, to find out if anything has been written about these companies in magazines, trade periodicals, or newspapers.
  • Another strategy would be to look at credit reports for these types of companies. Brief Experian credit reports are available in ABI/Inform Collection.
  • Information about a private company or subsidiaries may be included in market research or industry reports, so be alert when looking at these types of sources. In addition, an annual report for a publicly-traded company may provide some information about privately-held competitors.
  • Use industry financial benchmarks, which can be found in a subscription database called Bizminer. This source is under the "Industry Analysis / Financial Benchmarks" tab in this guide.
  • If your company is from Europe, regardless of whether it is public, private, or subsidiary, use Orbis.

Databases for Subsidiary / Private Company Research

If you have identified a company as a subsidiary, find its parent.  Then use the databases in the "Identify Type of Company" section to determine whether the parent company is public, private, or a subsidiary.  

You will not be able to find detailed financials for the majority of subsidiary or private companies (unless the subsidiary happens to be trading separately from the parent).  However, if the parent is publicly-traded, sometimes they might include a little bit of financial information for the subsidiary.

PrivCo provides financial data for over 850,000 privately-held companies. In addition, a database like ReferenceUSA will provide estimated sales figures for these types of U.S. companies. Use Orbis if your private company is incorporated in the United Kingdom.

MarketLine Company Profiles Authority and ABI/Inform Collection (published by a research firm called Canadean) have selected company reports that include large, privately-held companies.

Most companies have websites, so you should comb through them for information.

Use databases like ABI/Inform Collection and Nexis Uni, and others listed in the "Databases for Articles" tab of this guide to find out if anything has been written about these companies in magazines, trade periodicals, or newspapers.

 

Indentifying Competitors

These sources will help you identify competitors.  They will also help you determine whether the competitor is public, private, or a subsidiary. 

ReferenceUSA is a strong source for identifying competitors on a local level as well as helping you to determine the type of company. 

Tutorials