Company Research

The library provides access to a wide variety of sources, but the amount of information available varies by type of company:

  • Publicly-traded companies are the easiest to research. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires them to provide detailed information on a quarterly and annual basis.
  • Subsidiaries of public companies can be difficult to research because the parent company is not required to report on each of them individually.
    • Use the database D&B Business Browser listed below to search by company name or ticker symbol.
      • You can find the Corporate Family and Ultimate Parent at the top center of the Company Profile page, or click on Corporate Family in the left sidebar for a list of all subsidiaries, their locations, sales, and number of employees.
  • Private companies are not required to release any information about themselves and are therefore more challenging to research.
    • The databases Business Source Complete, D&B Business Browser, Nexis Uni, and ReferenceUSA listed below contain private company information, but there is often a limited amount of information available and sales figures are often estimates.
    • Financial ratios and industry averages are useful for comparing a company with its industry for benchmarking purposes.
    • Trade journals, magazines, and newspapers are excellent sources for the latest business news and trends, and can sometimes be the only source for private company information.
  • Nonprofit information can be found in the databases Charity Navigator, and GuideStar listed below.

Best Bets

D&B Business Browser (Dun & Bradstreet)
Formerly OneSource Global Business Browser. Provides robust intelligence on companies, executives, and industries, as well as news, analyst reports and SEC filings. Use the search boxes on the database homepage, or use the menu tabs to build custom lists or search for analyst reports by brokerage house, company, or industry.
Access: Available to anyone on-campus. Available off campus for UW-Madison students, faculty and staff only. Licensed for 10 simultaneous users.

ReferenceUSA (Infogroup)
Provides access to information on U.S. businesses and U.S. consumers. The business database includes data such as employee size, sales volume, geo-codes for mapping, contact details, franchise and brand information, judgments and bankruptcies, and credit rating scores. The consumer database includes comprehensive demographic and lifestyle attributes for any type of marketing or research.
Access: Available to anyone on-campus. Available off campus for UW-Madison students, faculty and staff only.

Also Helpful

BCC Research
BCC Research provides objective, unbiased measurement and assessment of market opportunities with detailed market research reports. Our experienced industry analysts assess growth opportunities, market sizing, technologies, applications, supply chains and companies with the singular goal of helping you make informed business decisions, free of noise and hype. (Updated annually)
Access: Available to anyone on-campus. Available off campus for UW-Madison students, faculty and staff only.

Business Premium Collection (ProQuest)
The most comprehensive business offering, comprising all content from: ABI/INFORM Collection; Accounting, Tax and Banking Collection; Asian and European Business Collection; Business Market Research Collection; and Entrepreneurship Database. With global coverage in business and economics, the collection features thousands of full-text journals, dissertations, and working papers, as well as trade publications, market research reports, and key periodicals such as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Economist.
Access: Available to anyone on-campus. Available off campus for UW-Madison students, faculty and staff only.

Business Source Complete (EBSCO)
Scholarly, trade, and popular business publications covering all business disciplines. Includes market research reports, industry reports, country reports, company profiles and SWOT analyses. (Updated daily)
Access: Available to anyone on-campus. Available off campus for UW-Madison students, faculty and staff only. This resource is also available for use by all Wisconsin residents through BadgerLink.

Charity Navigator
Charity Navigator is a 501 (c) (3) public charity that provides performance metrics, income statements, compensation of leaders, and more. Free registration is required to view expanded features such as organization history and IRS Forms 990.
Access: Available to everyone.

EDGAR (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)
All companies, foreign and domestic, are required to file registration statements, periodic reports, and other forms electronically through EDGAR (Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval). Anyone can access and download this information for free.
Access: Available to everyone.

Factiva (Dow Jones)
Newspapers, trade and scholarly journals, TV and radio transcripts, and news wires from more than 200 countries in 26 languages. Information on publicly traded companies, industry ratios, trade associations, and relevant news articles is under the Companies/Markets tab. (Updated daily, dates vary by title)
Access: Available to anyone on-campus. Available off campus for UW-Madison students, faculty and staff only. Licensed for 3 simultaneous users.

GuideStar
GuideStar is a 501 (c) (3) public charity that gathers and disseminates information about every single IRS-registered nonprofit organization. Free account creation is required to view IRS Forms 990, Board Chair, and Board of Directors.
Access: Available to everyone.

J.P. Morgan Research (ProQuest)
The database features thousands of analyst reports covering over 3,000 global companies and all industries. Derived from Morgan Markets – which is J.P. Morgan’s exclusive information for key clients and investors – these reports are made available to academic users for education and research purposes. Coverage is 2011 to current with a one week embargo. Lengthy reports cover equities and company performance, global and regional economics and financial strategy, foreign exchange, commodities, liquidity, and emerging markets.
Access: Available to anyone on-campus. Available off campus for UW-Madison students, faculty and staff only.

Mergent Online
Database of over 10,000 U.S. public companies, over 18,000 international companies, and over 8,000 “dead stocks.” Country reports, custom reports and screening capabilities are also available. Up to the most recent 15 years of data, and up to the most recent 10 years of annual reports. (Updated Monthly)
Access: Available to anyone on-campus. Available off campus for UW-Madison students, faculty and staff only.

Nexis Uni (LexisNexis)
Nexis Uni (formerly LexisNexis Academic) offers access to more than 17,000 news, legal and business sources, including print and online journals; television and radio broadcasts; newswires and blogs; local, regional, national and international newspapers with deep archives; extensive legal sources for federal and state cases and statutes, including U.S. Supreme Court decisions since 1790; and business information on more than 80 million U.S. and international companies and more than 75 million executives. (Updated daily)
Access: Available to anyone on-campus. Available off campus for UW-Madison students, faculty and staff only.