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Master of Energy Business: Private Companies

This Library Research Guide will introduce library resources relevant to students enrolled in the Master of Energy Business Program

Private Companies

Finding information regarding privately owned companies is more difficult than for public companies since the government does not require private firms to file the many different financial disclosure and other forms that it requires of publicly traded entities.

There are nonetheless resources you may use for your research.  An obvious one is the company's website, though always keep in mind that the primary purpose of the website is PR for the company rather than providing unbiased information for researchers.

In the US, private companies are not required to release their financials. Therefore, most of the time you won't be able to get detailed financial statements on a private firm. Here are some strategies on researching a private company:

  • Company websites and social media channels: your company's vs. your competitors'
  • Shopping sites: why buy from them (price, quality, service)?
  • Company profile databases: find revenue data (self-reported or estimates) and other limited information (depending on the size of the private firm) from the sources suggested below.
  • Industry/market research reports: trends, competition, main players.
  • Use industry benchmarks as proxy (e.g., you probably won't be able to obtain financial statements on your competitors that are private firms, but industry benchmark data might shed some light). 
  • Consumer profiles: demographics and psychographics
  • Search for news stories on the company (using library databases or Google). This is especially important when the company is local and/or small. The company might have been covered in newspapers, trade publications, TV segments, or blogs.


Library of Congress Guide on Private Company Research



The following library resources are some of the best at providing objective information: