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AREC 315 - Agribusiness Economics and Management

Company Research Strategies

Before using the library databases, first gather basic information on the company using a general search engine (like Google).

Example: a search in Bing for the grocery store Sprouts

1. What's the company's official name? While the common name (e.g., Sprouts) can be sufficient, some databases require the official name (e.g., Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc.) to return the correct results.

2. Is it public or private? Certain data are less available for US private companies because they are not required to report their financials to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). You may need to gather information from news articles, industry reports, and public competitors to better research private companies.

3. If public, what's the company's stock ticker symbol? Adding the words "stock ticker" to your basic search (e.g., Sprouts stock ticker) should bring it up immediately (e.g., SFM). Most business-focused databases let you use the ticker as a search term to increase the relevance of your search results.

4. If private, consider researching a similar public "proxy company" of comparable size in the same industry. Using a proxy (or two) can help you estimate details like financials that may be difficult if not impossible to uncover for the private company.

5. Where is the company is headquartered? Just as with the full name and ticker symbol, knowing where a company is headquartered will help you identify the correct company when scanning search results.

Databases for company research

Company financial information

There are a number of sources available for company financials for publicly traded companies. Fewer sources are available for private companies, and when you do find figures, those are less likely to be exact figures and are often estimates.

Company news

In the following databases, try searching by company name: