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New York - If you are considering an investment in a private company you should require that the financial statements be audited. Even if the company does not have any revenues, certified public accountants will ensure that material litigation, commitments and contingencies are disclosed in the notes to the financial statements.

Dun and Bradstreet publishes several types of business reports on approximately 11 million private companies. The reports include information such as properties owned, number of employees, sales and earnings. Dun and Bradstreet can be reached via 1-800-362--3425..

Hoovers is leading provider of free and fee based data on public and private companies. You can search by company name or stock symbol if publicly traded.

Consider the following information which is generally available for free at your public library:

  • A book published by Reed Reference entitled "The Directory of Corporate Affiliations" provides information on 8,000 privately owned firms. This information consists of data such as estimated annual revenue, executive management and major subsidiaries.

  • A book published by Washington Researchers entitled "How to Find Information About Private Companies" is full of strategies for researching private companies.

  • The law search retrieval service - Lexis - should be reviewed for lawsuits and other matters.

Do not forget to check with the SEC. Many private companies distribute stock to employees or sell bonds, which require public disclosure. Click here to reach the SEC Web Site.

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