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Business

Highlighted Resource: Mergent Online

The easiest way to search this database is to type the name of the company you are looking for in the company search bar on the bottom left and press go.

Pro tip: If you are getting no results when you put in the name of a major company, the company is probably either a private, company, a subsidiary, or a brand of a major company. See the box below to learn the difference, and how to adjust your search.

If the company is private, you will need to check the "D&B Private Company Database" search option and replicate your search. You will find some financial data on private companies, but this will be much less extensive than what you find on a public company.

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What's the Difference?: Brand vs. Company

Public Company vs. Private Company

Public companies have "public debt" or are traded on a stock exchange, and they have to file their financials with the SEC or the regulatory body of the exchange that they are traded on to give investors the information necessary to manage their investments. Private companies only have to disclose their financials to the IRS or the tax revenue service in their home country and their investors.

Why it matters:

Detailed financial information is available for ALL public companies, and there is limited financial information available on private companies.  

Brands and Subsidiaries vs. Parent Companies

If a company sells a product that has a different name than the legal name of the company, it is called a brand. If a company is wholly owned or has a controlling stake owned by another company, it is called a subsidiary.

  • Example Brands: Tide and Downy are brands of the Proctor & Gamble company (P&G)
  • Example Subsidiary: North Face is a subsidiary of VF Corp

Why it matters:

In both of these cases, any financials that are reported to the IRS, U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), or appropriate governing body, are reported at the parent company level. To find reports, news, and filings for a subsidiary or a brand, you must look at the parent company.

Pro Tip: Use Wikipedia

Wikipedia can tell you whether a company is a brand or a subsidiary or whether it is public or private. You can then adjust your Mergent Online search accordingly.

North Face Wikipedia page

Copyright @ Wikimedia Foundation, inc. (Current as of 23 March 2019)