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NOTE: The same advice applies to private companies as to subsidiaries; if you are able to pick and choose the company for a class project, try to avoid a private or closely-held firm. Information is always limited on such companies.
To look up private companies in Mergent Online, search within the D&B Private Company Database. The Sawyer Library has three licenses for simultaneous use of Mergent Online, therefore when ending the session, please "Logout."
The Company Dossier default search, "Find a Company," leads to a "Snapshot" description, which identifies the company as public or private, provides the primary SIC and NAICS codes, a business description, and a list of competitors (from the side menu). Other search options include generating a list of companies based on specific criteria, and comparing the financials of up to five companies.
REF HG4057 .A28616 Provides a two page overview of 750 of the most important U.S. private companies. Includes a brief history, names of officers, products, and competitors, and financial information if available.
REF DESK HG 4058.B7 D65 1998/2000 This third edition is now somewhat dated, however it is published by the Boston Business Journal and covers companies operating in the Boston metropolitan area. In addition to public company profiles, this title also provides 918 profiles of private, nonprofit, and international and subsidiary companies operating in the area. Profiles include a brief description of the company, key officers, primary SIC, number of employees, and revenue (when available).