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A private company is held by a handful of people, often the founder and a few others. It does not sell stock to the general public, and therefore, does not have an obligation to disclose its financial information. Finding financial information on a private company can sometimes be difficult.
A public company, on the other hand, has sold a part of its business or its stock to the general public. By law it is required to disclose its financial information and file specific reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
If you are not sure if a company is public or private, check these sources
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Business Source Premier
This collection of popular business magazines, scholarly journals and trade publications offers coverage of such topics as accounting, banking, finance, international business, management, marketing, real estate, regional studies, sales, trade and technology. Search this database on your mobile device!
Mergent Intellect is a collection of worldwide business information.
Most comprehensive database for both national and international company research. All financials "as reported." Providing unparalleled review of balance sheets, income statement, expenditures, assets, liabilities, cash flow, performance trends, and more. Offers industry reports and country profiles.
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PrivCo is a source for business and financial data on non-publicly traded corporations, including family owned, private equity owned, venture backed, and international unlisted companies.