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Company Research: Start Here!

This guide provides key resources for researching specific companies. Students in BT 160 will find this guide especially helpful.

Public or Private?

Is the company privately or publicly-held ?

Privately-held: Most companies in the U.S. are private. Shares in a private company are held by a small group of owners and are not traded on the public market. Private companies are not legally required to disclose financial information with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission)

Publicly-held: A publicly held company is owned by the general public including company officers, employees and investors. Its stock is listed on the public market, and stock exchange and must file financial statements and reports with the SEC.


Where to Start

Finding company information can be a bit complicated. However, the Web has made the search a bit easier.

  • Public or private?  Find out by searching the EDGAR - Securities and Exchange Commission  website. Not all publicly held companies are listed in EDGAR. Most company websites will indicate whether the company is private or public.
  • Search the company's website on Google. Use quotes around the company name, "kaiser aluminum". The company's website should provide an "About" or "About Us" tab with information on the company's history, leadership (CEOs, etc), corporate responsibility, etc.
  • Search Yahoo! Finance. Type the company's name in the Search box. Look for the company Profile, summary (scroll down the screen for News, Press Releases, etc., and other helpful information.

Tip: It is easier to find information on larger publicly-held companies than it is to find information on smaller privately-held local companies. Don't be discouraged. The company's website should provide an "About Us" tab with information on history, leadership, corporate responsibility, etc.