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Business Resources for Lawyers: Company information - free

This is a guide to resources for business and company research. It will focus on electronic resources accessible freely on the Internet and on databases available through the law library or LMU's main campus library.

Company websites

The first place to look for information about a company is its website.  Look for sections such as "Investor Relations," "About," or "Annual Reports"  which will typically  provide company financial information, quarterly and annual reports, stockholder meeting notices, contact information, etc.  

Keep in mind!

1. It is much easier to find information about public companies (companies with publicly traded stock) than for privately-held companies.  The law requires much more in the way of disclosure for publicly-traded companies in order to protect the investing public.

2. The larger the company, the easier it is to find information about it.

3. There is generally more information available for U.S. based companies than for non-U.S. companies.

Edgar

Both the federal and state governments play a role in regulating business and provide access to a rich amount of information on companies.  Edgar is the SEC's database that collects filings from publicly-traded companies.  There is a tremendous amount of information from 1996 forward.  The most important filings of a public company are the 10-K annual reports, 10-Q quarterly reports, annual Proxy Statements (DEF 14A) and 8-K current reports.

Here is a display of the Edgar basic search page.  Be sure to know the exact name of the company you are researching.

California Secretary of State

The Business Programs section of the California Secretary of State's Office provides basic information on domestic stock, domestic nonprofit and qualified foreign corporations, limited liability company and limited partnerships.  For a fee, the Secretary of State will provides copies of documents filed by a business entity.

 The following is a display of the basic "Business Search" available through the Secretary of State's website: