A private company is a company whose shares are not traded on any stock exchange.
Unlike public companies, privately held companies are not required to report their financials to the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), making information difficult or even impossible to find.
Private companies come in all sizes, from small businesses to large corporations. Here are a few private companies you may have heard of:
Comb the company website for information. Here are some tips:
Give the company a call or send them an email. (The controller might be a good contact.) Explain that you are a student and what you are looking for. They might be willing to share their information with you. Find contact information on the company website, in company profiles and directories.
These online databases contain profiles on private and public companies. The private company information is limited but may include sales and employment estimates or reported data.
Private company information can turn up in articles and in some cases a mention in an article is all the information you are going to find on a given company. The articles may be about anything from the company's new products and services to financial figures to the opening of a new location. The information available will vary from company to company but can be used to develop an impression of the company's financial condition.
Although private companies are typically not required to file with the U.S. SEC, they need to file at the state level in order to operate. These filings will provide you with basic information about the company and can often be found via the state's Department of State website. See the example from the Pennsylvania Department of State below.
There are a number of directories that list private companies. Various editions of these directories are available in print at the Business Library and ULS Storage. Check with a librarian to determine where to find the edition that best meets your research needs.