Conducting Business ResearchPresentation Transcript
Finding Business Information
Brendan Rapple AD140
Advancing Studies 17 February 2010
Many Types of Business Info
General Information on Business
Information on Companies
Information on Finance, Investments etc.
Information on International or Global Business
Information on Industries
Information on Small Business
Information on Business Organization
How Can I Find . . . .
The address of a company?
Who owns a company?
The parent of a company?
The sales, or other financial data for a company?
Info on private companies?
Info on public companies?
Articles on a company?
Companies ranked by sales?
How a given industry is doing?
Information on a businessperson?
Articles which appeared in the Wall Street Journal ?
A company's 800 number?
How businesses/organizations work –role of decision-making, leadership, teams, ethical approaches etc.
A multitude of other questions
Helpful Business Pages on BC Libraries Site
Research Help by Subject :
Business and Management
Searching for Company Information
Why learn how to research a company?
Helps to prepare for job interviews.
People in strategic planning, market research, advertising, sales, public relations etc. need information on their competitors.
Useful when making personal investment decisions.
To find out more about a company’s products.
Maybe you’re suing a company!
A vast amount of info. available in print and electronically.
Still, no one definitive way to conduct business research on a particular company.
Researching a Company? Basic Info.
a company’s headquarters
address, phone and fax numbers;
names of subsidiaries; &
the names of key personnel;
Reading SIC Codes
The first two digits of the code identify the major industry group, the third digit identifies the narrower industry group, and the fourth digit identifies the actual specific industry.
20 Food and Kindred Products
209 Miscellaneous Food Preparations and Kindred Products
2096 Potato Chips, Corn Chips, and Similar Snacks
Very important to know the following:
Proper and full company name
Corporate headquarters' address
Company's form of ownership
Researching a company is not always easy:
Company identity often complex question.
Many companies have similar names, but are separate, distinct companies based in different cities.
Ford may refer to Ford Motor Company or The Ford Foundation.
Public or Private or International Company?
Use a directory to find whether a company is public, private or non-U.S.
Much info. available on companies which trade on the stock market - SEC filings, annual reports, analysts' reports, news stories, books and case studies.
Information on private companies is usually limited to brief details in directories, news stories, and sometimes books.
Amount of info. on international companies varies. If the company trades on the U.S. exchanges it must file annual reports (20-F) with the SEC.
Other information can be found in directories, databases, newspapers and magazines.
Form of ownership not always easy to guess.
Koch Industries , Bechtel , Cargill , PricewaterhouseCoopers , Flying J , Ernst & Young , Publix , and Mars are among the largest privately held companies in the United States. IKEA , Victorinox , and Bosch are examples of Europe's largest privately held companies. ( Wikipedia )
Smaller local companies, such as First Federal Savings Bank of Youngstown, may be publicly owned.
Also companies are bought and sold daily. A company that was independently owned may be purchased by a public company.
Private companies occasionally go public as they grow and develop a need for more capital.
Subsidiaries and divisions change ownership, operating under new parent companies.
Is the Company Public or Private?
Trade stock on open financial market -- sell stock to general public.
Required by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to disclose financial information.
Must provide annual reports to shareholders.
Thus, financial info. always available for a public company.
As a result of 1929 crash, people have right to know about publicly traded companies.
Type of Info. Disclosed:
Broad Financial data, e.g.
summary of assets and liabilities
Type of Info. Not Disclosed:
other day-to-day operations
trade secrets, e.g. ingredients in Coke, in Mrs. Field’s cookies etc.
while salaries/fringe benefits of key executives must be disclosed, hourly wages paid to ordinary employees need not be
The more intricate the organizational structure of the company, the more complex it usually is to uncover details about its individual parts.
Factiva is an important resource – many thousands of sources including the full-text of the Wall Street Journal
What Approach are you Taking?
Do you wish to find out what the company says about itself?
Or, do you wish to find out what others say about the company?
The Boston Globe database (full-text from 1980)
Lexis-Nexis Academic (full-text of 100s of newspapers).
Europages, the European Business Directory http://www.europages.com/
Contains information on 1,500,000 companies, from 35 European countries, from all activity sectors.
Finding Financial Information about a Company
Important to distinguish between
Annual Report to Stockholders (ARS)
Financial reports submitted to SEC
Annual Report to Stockholders (ARS)
Glossy, upbeat brochure mailed annually to stockholders
It typically contains
Designed to present best possible picture of company
Often viewed as little more than public relations piece
Still, bad news cannot be ignored, though it may be played down or euphemistically explained away
Moreover, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and SEC regulations must be followed
Much useful info. can be found in an ARS
Locating Annual Reports
You may obtain a company's annual report simply by calling the corporation's investor relations department or by visiting their corporate website on the Internet (if the company has one).
Contains thousands of free annual reports.
CAROL - Company Annual Reports On-Line
Annual Reports from companies in Europe and the USA. Free but registration is required.
Financial Reports Submitted to SEC
Detailed financial publication
no artistic photos
no striking graphs
no flowery narrative
avoids the company hype
More specific financial info. than in the annual report
Databases Useful for Locating Company Profiles
Business Source Complete
Includes profiles for more than 10,000 companies worldwide. Select the "Company" link on the right.
Click on the "Business" tab to get company stock information, bond rating, competitors, executives, brands and more.
General Business File
Information on more than 200,000 public and private companies. International in scope. Select "subject guide" search and enter company name. Look for the entry that says "Read about this company".
Includes profiles on most public companies in the United States and some international companies. Limited information on private companies. Select Companies/Markets, click on "Company" and enter the company name or ticker symbol.
Then there are the analysts’ reports, often from Wall Street, produced by such companies as Merrill Lynch, Forrester, Jeffries, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse-North America, Salomon Smith Barney etc.
These are supposed to “tell it as it is”, e.g. this company is going under within six months and only a fool would buy shares in it!!
Databases Useful for Locating Analysts’ Reports
Thomson ONE Banker (Internet Explorer Only)
Investext Plus contains
the full text of research/analyst reports on companies and industries
as well as the annual statistical reports of many industry trade associations.
It delivers full-text reports in their original published formats, complete with charts, photographs and graphics.
The reports are from 500 of the world's top investment banks, brokerage firms and trade associations.
Subsidiaries of Publicly Held Companies
Not required to file separate disclosure documents.
Relevant info. (especially financial) on affiliates is attributed to parent company --- analogy of child’s phone no. being under parents’ name.
Bigger the parent company, more difficult it is to research a single component of its operations.
Often as difficult as finding info. on a private company.
Another Useful Business Database
Standard & Poor’s NetAdvantage
Excellent database for locating company profiles and industry overviews
Usually about 25 shareholders.
Privately owned stock is not available for market trade.
Stockholders typically the principals in the co., e.g.
members of their families
No disclosure of information is required of the co. according to Federal Securities laws.
Useful Databases for Researching Private Companies
Most of the databases used for researching public companies may also be useful for private companies:
Business Source Complete
General BusinessFile ASAP
Newspapers may be especially useful. Still, it is often very difficult to find good info. on private companies
A Useful Website for Researching Private Companies
Forbes 500 Top Private Companies http://www.forbes.com/private500/
Forbes magazine makes available its list of top private companies over the past three years.
Information on Overseas Business
World Bank Country Profiles Country profiles prepared by World Bank staff are available for 157 nations. The web site also includes a section “ Topics in Development ” – very useful for locating diverse information om trade, business etc. in these foreign countries.
GlobalEdge The "Country Insights" section provides current information on the business climate, news, history, political structure, economic landscape, and relevant statistical data for 196 countries. The "Global Resources" section is a directory of international business resources categorized by specific orientation and content.
Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage
Cover about 52 major industries in the U.S. and some in Europe, Asia and Latin American.
Business Source Complete
There are two ways to search for an industry overview in this database. Click on the "Industry" link in the right column to see if your industry is listed. If not, enter your industry in the search box (i.e. financial services industry) on the main search screen. Several categories will appear above the results, select Industry Profiles.