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Introduction to Business Research for Paralegals: Resources for Privately-Held Companies

Resources for Privately-Held Companies

Most businesses in the US are privately-held (and often family-owned); however, some privately-held companies are also quite large. Although it is more difficult to find information about privately-held companies, it is not impossible. Here are some suggestions:

  • Secretary of State filings - These required filings can help identify the individuals who own the companies, however, you must know in which state the company was incorporated. You can search incorporations, cooperatives, banks and insurance companies at the Arkansas Secretary of State website.
  • Local newspapers, business publications, and trade journals - These publications often contain articles about privately-held companies that make news in a particular region or industry. 
    • Access World News - includes local and regional news articles
    • ABI/INFORM Complete - Features thousands of full-text journals, dissertations, working papers, key business and economics periodicals such as the Economist, country-and industry-focused reports, and downloadable data. Its international coverage gives researchers a complete picture of companies and business trends around the world.
    • Nexis Uni - Use the news section to look for articles on all companies, public and private, see the video below for directions, but make sure you access the database via the NWACC Library website--at this bullet--and make sure you limit to business and industry news within the database.
  • Use this handout for step by step instructions on searching for news article on private companies in Nexis Uni. Finding Informtion on Private Companes. You can also watch the video immediately below.

Searching Nexis Uni for News Articles--Provided by North Central University Library

Effective Search Strategies

- Create a list of keywords related to the topic that you are researching.

- Begin with a basic keyword search and see what kind of results you get.

- If you get too few results, try different keywords.

- If you get too many results, try more and/or different search terms or limit your results by date, publication type, and other criteria.


This guide was adapted, with permission, from the Harvard Law School Library's Company, Industry & Market Research.

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