A private company is a company wholly owned by an individual/family or a group of investors. A private company does not sell shares of stock and is not required to disclose any information about the company to either the government or the public. Doing research on a private company requires a little digging and a little luck. Any information located should be considered suspect until it has been verified in a second source. Look for entries in databases that provide private company data and for articles about the companies in article databases.
Databases with private company entries:
A public company is a company owned by stock shareholders. A public company has a duty to its shareholders to release information about the financial state of the company. Additionally, public companies file annual reports with their shareholders and report financial data to the Securities and Exchange Commission (a branch of the federal government). This data is made available to the public to view. Locating information on public companies is easier because they must file reports. Many databases and government web sites provide access to public company data.
Selected databases to locate public company entries: