Features – The Internet and Company Research

Gloria Miccioli has been a law librarian for 20 years. Her specialty is research. She has worked as Government Documents/Reference Librarian at the Jacob Burns Law Library of the George Washington University Law School; as Senior Research Librarian for Williams & Connolly; and is currently International Librarian for Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue’s D.C. office, where she provides expert research services for the firm’s overseas offices.

Researching companies can now be done without picking up a book. The Internet has made available sources that were once found only in print, as well as information that was not available at all. Quite a bit of this information is free, but as with so many web-based sources, there is a trend toward charging fees for finding and retrieving company information. I have included fee-based company research sites because I believe it may not be possible to find information on particular companies without incurring costs. However, this is by no means a comprehensive list; there are dozens and probably hundreds of relevant web sites. I have selected those which I have found to be reliable and useful or which should be included based on reputation.

Additional Sources of Global Information Company Profilers Initial Public Offerings (IPOs)
MetaSites Public Record Information on Companies SEC Filings


The CEOExpress Company launched CEOExpress.com in 1999; the web site is designed to serve as a gateway to the Internet for a business audience. This is a links-only site; you cannot enter a search. Links are not limited to business information; there are also links to health news, travel tools, leisure information, search engines, and many more. The links are set out in categories and sub-categories on the homepage, and the homepage keeps getting longer. CEOExpress evaluates the links for each category so there is some assurance of quality. The site is well-organized and easy to use and is the proverbial one-stop shopping place for business information. Some of the business categories include SEC, international business, small business, investing and IPOs, company research, stock markets, banking and finance, and law and legislation. CEOExpress lists both free and fee web sites. It has been named by Forbes and Jeffery Epstein as among the “Best of the Web”, a description with which I agree.
This web site sees its mission as building the “world’s best resource for finding information on industries, companies, business people and products.” A team of industry experts and librarians select relevant sites. The homepage looks a lot like Yahoo!, but the categories are all related to business. There are over 25,000 categories and sub-categories in the directory and links to more than 400,000 web sites, which make this a pretty comprehensive site and a good place to go if you’re not sure what’s out there. For example, if you need automotive information, you can click on that category and view the sites listed under each sub-category. Or you can use the search box on the homepage to search by subject. When I entered Yahoo! in the search box, I got 163 results.

There are also free profiles of public, private and international companies. To find them click on Companies at the top of the homepage and enter the company name. The profiles offer a lot of information: descriptions, stock quotes, recent news, names of officers and executives with links to biographies, key developments and brief financials. Since finding information on private companies is often difficult, the recent addition of 44,0000 private companies to the database is a welcome step.

Dow Jones Interactive
DJI is the business news and research web site from Factiva. It provides global reporting from newspapers, magazines, newswires, market reports and articles by Dow Jones and Reuters journalists. You can browse the latest news on the Business Newsstand or search an archival Publications Library that covers 6000 sources, including the Wall Street Journal. The Company & Industry Center ties together information from various sources (e.g., Dun & Bradstreet, SEC, Hoover’s, articles, Investext, etc.) to provide a profile of companies or industries. With the Historical Market Data Center, you can retrieve histories on securities, dividends and exchange rates. An Executive Report offers a company/industry quick search, with a financial snapshot of a business, a description, stock quotes, and the latest news. You can take a product tour by clicking on About Dow Jones Interactive on the left sidebar of the home page.

DJI is relatively inexpensive and it is easy to use. Single users pays $69 per password per year. There are different pricing plans for corporations; click on $ on the top of the home page. An Executive Report costs an additional $9.95. Searching for articles and browsing headlines are free. You pay only for viewing articles, which can be printed or downloaded. The cost is $2.95 per article. Retrieving SEC filings is also reasonably priced: a 10K costs $5.95.

CorporateInformation (CI) links users to web sites that have information on over 350,000 companies worldwide, public and private. Search by name or ticker and you will get a list of sites which tell you something about the company. Sites with only directory information or stock quotes are excluded. I entered “Hoover’s” in the search box on the home page and got 22 hits, including links to the Hoover’s Online profile of itself, a Wright Research Center profile, the Yahoo Financial News and Information site, FreeEDGAR filings, and a profile from a German source. The search engine will pick up links that have your search term anywhere in the name, so I also got a link to information on Grand Hoover Berhad, a company in Malaysia. This feature is very helpful if you don’t know the exact company name.

You can also find sources of business information for a specific country. Select from a pull-down list of 100 countries on the home page. Or, get a list of companies covered by CI in a specific industry and a specific country. Links to sources of information for companies located in a particular state are available by clicking on the state from a map of the U.S. which is located on the home page. The District of Columbia, however, was not on this map.

CI offers a lot of free information. Its site is well-designed and pretty easy to use. All features are listed and explained on the home page. Also on the home page is a list of the top 50 largest companies in the world. My only complaint is that I could not find any information on the site about its producer, the Winthrop Corp., nor did I find anything substantive by entering its name in the search box. Knowing who designs and maintains a site is one way to judge its reliability and accuracy.

A good site for links to news, reference sources, international sources, market updates, stock quotes, SEC filings, IPO information and more.
Lexis and Westlaw
Both of these fee-based services offer a great deal of information on private and public companies, much of which can be found for free or more cheaply on other web sites. However, the advantages of these services are the power and flexibility of their superior full text searching. Sometimes only a Lexis or Westlaw search will do. However, both services have taken steps to reduce the cost of company searches while at the same time making searching easier. Lexis’s new product is CompanyAnalyzer, which is available only on the web and searches a number of files at one time. Prices are $25 for a search and a list of citations, or $90 for a full report. Users complete a search template and select the sources to be searched. Westlaw’s CO-PROFILE (accessible on the web and the software) also searches a number of sources at the same time, but there seem to be fewer than in Lexis. Cost of a report is $35. For an excellent comparison of these services, see Donna F. Cavallini’s article, “One Stop Shopping for Company Data: A Comparison of CO-PROFILE and CompanyAnalyzer.”
Like Westlaw and Lexis, Dialog has many databases with all kinds of information on domestic and foreign businesses and companies. They include SEC filings, Dun & Bradstreet’s business information reports, D&B directories (so you can determine if there is a D&B report on a company), business locators, credit profiles, merger information, and many industry-specific databases. The cost of searching varies by database. It also includes a Dialog-imposed Dial Unit charge, which is a complicated system of charges based on the complexity of the search. Printing/retriev
al costs also vary by database.
Company Sleuth
Company Sleuth is another web site that has introduced two levels of service, one free and one to subscribers. Company Sleuth emphasizes current information. For $79.95 a year, users can set up “stakeouts” on up to 50 companies with email notification of the companies’ business activities, financial moves, Internet dealings, legal actions, and more. Users can also access 25 different reports on publicly traded companies. Subscribers will also be able to search a Research Library of 10 million articles taken from thousands of newspapers, periodicals and radio and TV transcripts. Please note that Company Sleuth attempts to bring hard-to-find information to the user; it does not guarantee the validity of the information it finds. Potential subscribers can sign up for a free 14-day trial. If you choose not to subscribe, you must cancel the service or you will be billed for the subscription fee. I admit it makes me uncomfortable to have this burden shifted to the user because I can easily imagine a busy researcher forgetting to cancel.

For those who choose not to subscribe, a free limited access membership is available. This allows you to track 2 companies with email notification and to access company profiles, recent headlines, quotes, earnings, and a Message Board.

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SEC Filings

Since May 1996 all U.S. publicly traded companies have been required to file electronically with the Securities and Exchange Commission. (Some companies have done so since 1994.) EDGAR is the official government repository of these electronic documents, which are posted to the site 24 hours after filing. The web site has recently undergone much needed and very welcome improvements. It has been redesigned so that it is cleaner, easier to read, and easier to use. Click on Quick EDGAR Tutorial for a good explanation of the files that can be searched and the types of searches that can be performed. To search, click on Search EDGAR. Quick Forms Lookup is used to search for a specific form (via a pull-down menu) for a specific company. You can also enter a date range, but the breakdown doesn’t give you many choices: the entire database, last month, last 2 weeks, last week, and now. Search the EDGAR Archives allows you to search the entire database by keyword with natural language or Boolean operators. Please note that you are searching header information, including addresses, not the full texts of the documents.1 You can also limit the search to a particular year.

The biggest problem with EDGAR has been the necessity to reformat the documents once they are retrieved. As far as I can tell, this is still a problem, although there is a message on the site that teases us by offering a link to an explanation of HTML, text, and PDF formats. However, the link doesn’t work as of this writing, and I couldn’t find any documents in PDF for the searches I did. Perhaps this is another improvement we can look forward to.

10K Wizard
Formed in 1999 by an investment advisor and a software expert, 10K Wizard is a great tool for searching the EDGAR database for free as well as for retrieving printable documents. Despite its name, the web site covers all EDGAR filings in real-time. The homepage takes you right to the search screen, where the user can search by company, ticker, form type, date and keyword. Yes, full text Boolean searching is available. Even better, documents or sections of documents can be displayed, downloaded, or emailed. No reformatting is required, which is a big advantage. An alert service is also available.
EDGAR Online
I have grouped these sites together because FreeEDGAR is now part of EDGAR Online. Many of FreeEDGAR’s most attractive features, formerly free of charge, are now only available with a subscription to EDGAR Online. You can no longer search the full text of SEC filings in FreeEDGAR, nor can you get e-mail alerts. You can no longer download documents in a printable format, nor can you download financial tables in Excel. What’s left is “individual free, basic access to SEC documents.” You can search by name or ticker symbol and view documents in HTML format only. You can select to view sections of a document, but that’s about it. An example of the move from free to fee information on the Internet, FreeEDGAR has been pretty much gutted.

EDGAR Online offers full text searching, real-time notification of events, even delivery of print copies of very large documents. The site also has information on IPOs and the ability to search for information on people. An interesting feature is recent federal litigation for public companies, which can be accessed by clicking on Litigation under News on the left sidebar. Using pull-down lists, the researcher selects a company name, a sector (e.g., healthcare), or an industry (e.g., coal) to get news of pending litigation. Subscribers also have access to 3000 free annual reports. Subscriptions can be individual or group (5 or more users). For information on pricing, see http://www.edgar-online.com/fewatchsplash.asp.

In my opinion, LivEDGAR is the one of best of the fee-based services that cover SEC documents, and maybe the best service overall. Produced by Global Securities Information, it is inexpensive and reliable, and its database includes the 15% of filings that are submitted to the SEC on paper. The latter includes foreign filings. You can search for and identify these documents and order a copy from Global Securities or another source. LivEDGAR also covers No-Action Letters.

LivEDGAR charges $10 to log on and $1.25 per minute connect time. Each change of client incurs the $10 fee, but there is no charge for printing. There is also no charge for e-mail Watch Notifications; you must be a registered user to receive them, but there is no charge to register. However, retrieving a document does incur a charge. You can also rely on LivEDGAR for its online tutorials (including explanations of different forms ) and excellent customer support.

LivEDGAR offers full text, real-time searching and other sophisticated search features like Boolean operators and proximity connectors. The user can search and print parts of a document as well as the entire text. Click on Company/Ticker Search to enter a company name or ticker symbol. Click on Full Text/Example to search by free text, form type, state of incorporation, state of headquarters, filing date, and period date. The is a great way to find an example of a type of document, such as “stock purchase agreement” or “joint filing agreement,” where you don’t have a specific company in mind.

Once results are retrieved, you have 4 options: you can select to view, email, save, or print the documents, and no reformatting is necessary. For example, if you select Print, the document will be delivered to your browser in a ready-to-print format. To print in another format, click Review Settings.

Disclosure Content
Disclosure Content, accessed through Primark Information Services Global Access system, is an online service with a long history of reliability and comprehensiveness in the field of SEC filings. As the contract holder with the SEC, it is responsible for processing all public company filings, which are collected, indexed, and checked by Disclosure staff. Disclosure also covers papers filings and non-EDGAR documents like annual reports, company summary information, and due diligence information. Its customer support service is excellent.

Subscribers to the Disclosure SEC database have access to the filings of virtually all 12,000 public companies in the United States – including domestic and foreign – that are listed on national, regional and over-the-counter exchanges. Users also have access to up to 15 years of annual and quarterly financial statements, which makes this service great for historical research. Some documents, especially older ones, may not be available online but can be ordered from Primark, and I find the prices to be reasonable. Customers can tailor a subscription to their needs or have unlimited access to all content. Contact Primark for pricing information.

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Company Profilers

Dun & Bradstreet
Dun & Bradstreet offers information on over 62 million businesses in over 200 countries. It is probably the single best source for accurate, current information on individual companies, whether they are public or private, small or large, domestic or foreign. There may well be a D&B report on a company for which there are no other sources of information. Dun & Bradstreet’s sources include the typical filings and public records but also interviews with company contacts and customers. According to the web site, D&B updates its database 1 million times daily. These updates are conducted regularly by reporters via personal and phone interviews, by mail programs, and by investigations initiated by customer inquiry. These people are serious about providing the most complete, reliable, and current information they can find.
At the heart of the D&B databases is the D-U-N-S number, or Data Universal Numbering System. Each company, subsidiary, and division is assigned a 9-digit number, which serves as a unique identifier for “single business entities.” A large company may have many D-U-N-S numbers within its corporate family. Through the D-U-N-S numbers, the Dun & Bradstreet databases link the corporate family structures together. A report for an entity will tell you if it is a headquarters, division, or branch, and if not the parent, it will give the D-U-N-S number for the parent entity. According to the web site, D-U-N-S numbers are “recommended and/or required by more than 50 global, industry and trade associations…”

Dun & Bradstreet offers a number of products, among them the frequently requested business information reports (BIRs) on individual business entities. Another product is the Family Tree Finder, which searches for corporate structures and affiliates. To see a list of products, go to the home page and select Your Country of Origin from the pull-down menu. If you select United States, you will be taken to the home page for the United States. Then click on Products on the top of the screen. This takes you to a general description of products. Click on the words Click Here towards the bottom of this screen to – finally – be taken to a list of products, with links to descriptions. There are too many steps here, but once you get to them, the descriptions are clear and informative.

Business information reports (BIRs) give lots of information: company snapshot; D&B rating; financials; special events; company trends and strengths; payment summary’ notices of UCC filings, bankruptcies, lawsuits, and liens and judgments; company history; information on principals; number of employees; and description of facilities.

Products can be paid for by credit card. For high-volume users, different subscription plans that offer discounts are available. A single business information report on a U.S. company that is paid by credit card costs $95. Each product has a different price and prices for information on foreign companies also vary by country or global region. To see the pricing for U.S. company products, go to www.dnbsearch.com/pricing1.htm. To determine the price for a report on a foreign company, go to www.dnbsearch.com and click on International Business/Credit reports. Then click on FAQ and on the question, “What is the cost of this Report?”. (Again, too many steps for an otherwise well-designed site).

The Dun & Bradstreet databases are also available through gateways on other services, such as Dialog, Lexis and Westlaw. I am a big fan of Dun & Bradstreet.

Hoover’s Online
I often turn to Hoover’s first when I am starting a company search. Its company capsules are free and contain basic information such as location, description, and brief financials plus links to the company web site, to information on key people, to news and press releases, to subsidiaries covered by Hoover’s, and even to a list of federal litigation (supplied by CourtLink). More in-depth information is found in the company profile (if one exists); this is available only to subscribers and provides a succinct but comprehensive and readable company history, more detailed financials (including historical data), information on more key people, and a more complete list of subsidiaries and locations. Contact Hoover’s for pricing information.

For a company search, click on Companies and Industries on the top or select Company from the pull-down menu near the search box. Enter a company name; Hoover’s will search for it and names that sound like it. An advanced search screen is available to subscribers and allows searching by area code, location, company type, industry, sales, and number of employees. Or you can click on Companies and Industries and then on Companies on the left sidebar to be taken to a list of all the companies Hoover’s covers, as well as to a list of public companies and a list of private companies.

You can also use the pull-down menu to search and retrieve recent SEC filings. (Hoover’s has recently agreed to buy a minority stake in 10K Wizard.) Searching produces a list of filings with links. It appears that you can view and print the entire document or just sections. Hoover’s gives you a printer-friendly format and a separate list of attachments. Additional searching options include searching the entire site, searching by ticker symbol, and searching just for people, news, or IPOs, among others.

Thomas Register Online
This site covers 168,000 manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada and their products and services. More detailed information can be found in Thomas’ print and CD-ROM products, but this site makes for easy searching and the ability to link to 7800 supplier catalogs. Online ordering of products plus the ability to email up to 5 companies at once are additional features. Free registration is required.

You can use simple Boolean operators to search by company name, product name (e.g., nails), or brand name. When I looked for the brand name Jell-O, I got a list of 2 products with links to a brief profile of the manufacturer, Kraft Foods. Searching for the product “nail polish” brought up 2 items: Polish: Nail, which linked to 26 companies (one with an online catalog) and Removers: Nail Polish (7 companies). Entering a company name, Kellogg, brought up list of 4 companies with Kellogg in the name.

Wall Street Research Net
A free service that offers a lot of information on U.S. public companies, this web site gathers its data from, and links to, a variety of sources, including SEC filings, news articles, stock quotes, broker recommendations, financial data, and many more. Searching is done by ticker symbol, which you can find on the site.
Kompass.com is a global database that has information on 1.6 million companies, 23 million key products and service references, 3.2 million executive names, and 744,000 trade and brand names in 72 countries. Users can search by company name, trade name, industry, or product name without charge. The result is a list of companies meeting the search criteria with links to more detailed information. Subscribers can get more powerful search features and more detailed information. Subscription information is available only by contacting the local Kompass publisher. Like Dun & Bradstreet, Kompass uses personal and telephone interviews as well as mail surveys to gather and update information.
Fortune 500
Fortune Global 500
These web
sites are the online versions of Fortune Magazine’s annual rankings of large companies. The Fortune 500 ranks public and private American companies that produce 10-Ks. Subsidiaries of foreign companies incorporated in the U.S. are excluded. Global 500 includes companies that publish financial data and report to a government agency; in the U.S., this includes private companies that produce a 10-K. Both lists are arranged by rank, but you also can arrange them by CEO and company name. Click on the company name to be taken to a page with links to articles, company overview (i.e., a Hoover’s capsule) and a brief Fortune analysis. Both the Fortune 500 and the Global 500 databases can be downloaded.
Forbes 500s Annual Directory
This web site has America’s largest corporations listed by rank. A click of the mouse allows you also to see the list arranged by name, sales, profits, assets, market-value, or number of employees. You can also search the list by many different criteria, for example to find all the companies on the list located in Alabama, by means of pull-down menus. Clicking on the company name brings up a brief Forbes profile. An annual listing from 1997 on is available.
Forbes 500 Top Private Companies
A list of the top private companies in the U.S. comes up on the home page arranged by rank and in a chart giving each company’s state, industry, revenue, and number of employees. To see the 500 arranged by any of these other categories, simply click on the category name. When you click on a company name, you are taken to a brief profile of the company. As with the Forbes 500s Annual Directory, you can search by different criteria via pull-down menus. Information is available on this site back to 1996 and can be downloaded.
Company Web Sites
A company’s web site may be an invaluable source of information about itself, one which did not exist before the Internet. (While an annual report may have been available, it was not always easy to get – if it existed – and it was not easy to update.) I use the words “may be” because the quality of web sites varies greatly. One may be highly informative and even include links to SEC documents, while another is frustrating in its lack of information. Some foreign companies will have English language versions and some won’t. Nevertheless, I always look for a web site. You can be reasonably sure that the information is accurate and up-to-date. Of course, the site is a promotional tool and there will always be a bias for the company. But it may be the only (free) place, for example, to get a complete list of the company’s worldwide operations or biographies of its executive staff. Information found on a company’s web site may not be found anywhere else. Some of the sources I have talked about provide links to company web sites. You can also use a general search engine to find them; Google usually works for me. News articles and press releases may also give the company’s URL.
Standard & Poor’s
I have not used this fee-based service, but it looks impressive. It offers a wide variety of in-depth business and financial products and services that are backed by the S&P commitment to quality. S&P covers private, public, domestic, and foreign companies. To see a description go to www.standardandpoors.com/ProductsAndServices/AtoZ.html or use the Site Map. Advantage is the web-based resource that brings together 11 publications, including the Corporate Register. Free registration will allow you to see a demo of Advantage. Another service is detailed Corporate Profiles of 6000 companies. You must contact a sales representative for pricing information.
Moody’s – Mergent FISonline
Mergent, the publisher of Moody’s manuals, also produces FISonline, a subscription-based suite of Internet sources for business and financial research. Like Standard & Poor’s, I have not used the Mergent web site, but based on the Moody’s reputation, it must be included in any discussion of web sites devoted to company research. FISonline has in-depth reports on over 10,000 public U.S. companies, over 17,000 non-U.S. public companies and 18,000 municipal entities It also has over 35,000 U.S. annual report images and over 50,000 non-U.S. annual report images plus real-time feeds of SEC documents from the EDGAR database. There are also broker reports and information on the investing activities of offices and directors. Take a tour of the services at www.fisonline.com/c/c2_tour.htm. I could not find pricing information on the web site.
The European Company Information Database covers over 2 million companies based in 15 member countries of the European Union, 30 European companies outside the EU and some companies in countries bordering Europe. The online database gives basic company information with links to company web sites. The CD-ROM version of the database gives extensive information. Right now the Internet version is free, but there are plans to charge users .50 Euro per minute. No date is given for this change. A simple search box allows users to search by company name, contact person, and country.
BizWeb provides links to over 46,000 companies in 207 categories. There’s not a whole lot of information on what kinds of companies are included or on who produces this site, but it is pretty easy to use. The home page consists of a simple search box and a list of categories and subcategories; each category gives the number of businesses it links to. For example, under the category Art (919 links) is the subcategory Supplies (75 links). Clicking on a category brings up a list of businesses, many of them small businesses, and links to their web sites, plus an indication if online ordering is possible. The search box presumably allows you to search by business name or keyword (there’s no explanation), but when I entered “art supplies” I got only 38 hits, not the 75 indicated in the category link. The value of BizWeb seems to be the many smaller businesses that are listed and the ability to identify companies that fall into a specific category.
Annual Reports Gallery
Annual Reports Gallery is a subsidiary of Cornerstone Investor Relations, which publishes financial data online. This web site has 2200 annual reports, most in HTML, some in Adobe Acrobat, and covers most of the Fortune 500 companies. Click on View the Library of Annual Reports to be taken to an alphabetical list of companies that are included. Beside the name of the company, which is a link to the company’s home page, are several items. Click on Snap Shot for a report of analysts’ suggestions. Clicking on Annual Report will either take you to the company’s most recent report or to the company’s web site, where you will have to search for the report. The ticker symbol is given next. Finally, hit Exchange to go to NASDAQ or the NYSE and stock information about the company.

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Public Record Information on Companies

Louisiana Secretary of State Internet Web Pages
Do you need to find incorporation documents for a U.S. company? Are you trying to identify a company’s registered agent? You will probably turn to the records of the Secretary of State, where such information can be found. This site provides a handy page of links to the SOS web pages of every state that has one. The information you are looking for may not be available on the SOS web site, at least not for free, but you will at least learn how to get the information. However, some states do provide free information, so it is worth using this web site before you turn to fee-based services like Lexis, Westlaw, and ChoicePoint. The only drawback is that you cannot search more than one state at a time.
ChoicePoint Online
ChoicePoint is a fee-based, menu-driven database that provides a great deal of information based on public records of U.S. companies and of individuals at relatively little cost, especially compared to other services. It searches Secretary of State records, liens, judgments, and bankruptcies, UCC filings, significant shareholders, property ownership, licenses, and other data. Not all types of information are available for each state, but ChoicePoint lets you know what types of searches are possible. An InfoProbe search will identify all the records that have information on a specific company; it costs between $15-20. Costs for different searches vary. For example, searching the database of significant shareholders costs only $6. ChoicePoint PreView gives a description of each type of search and its cost before a search is performed. ChoicePoint also offers excellent customer support.
To determine if a company is in federal litigation or if it has been involved in a bankruptcy and to retrieve docket sheets, use CourtExpress, which is a reliable and very inexpensive database. CourtExpress searches the records of the U.S. Supreme Court, 10 U.S. appellate courts, the bankruptcy courts, and 74 of the 82 federal district courts. Each search is only $5. Dates of coverage vary from court to court but may go back as far as the 1980s. You can enter a search and go on to other things; when the search is complete, you will be notified by email. Excellent customer support is another plus.
Like CourtExpress, CourtLink will tell you if a company is in litigation or bankruptcy, and it will retrieve docket sheets. Searching is inexpensive, up to $5.00 depending on the court and type of search. However, viewing results costs an additional $64. The results are saved for 7 days, during which time you may view them at no charge. CourtLink offers more search criteria as well as different critieria by which to sort your results. Viewing the docket sheets incurs another charge (usually $4.00). Updating and tracking dockets are also charged separately. For prices, click on CaseStream on the right sidebar. CourtLink provides docket information to Lexis, West, ChoicePoint, Hovvers, Law.com and LawCommerce.com.

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Initial Public Offerings (IPOs)

IPO Central from Hoover’s Online
This is a great site with lots of free information on companies who have filed for an initial public offering of common stock. Click on IPO Central on the left sidebar and go to a screen with current and scheduled IPOs. On the left you can click on Filings for the latest filings plus Hoover’s company capsules and links to the SEC documents. View IPOs to see a list of companies that have filed since May 5, 1996. Under Pricings, you can choose to see a list of companies that have filed but are not yet trading as well as a list of companies that have started trading. There’s also IPO News and IPO Statistics. To search for a particular IPO, use the search box and select IPOs from the pull-down menu. In addition, IPO Central will email weekly IPO updates to you.
Founded in 1997, ipo.com was selected by Forbes as a “Forbes Favorite”. Its goal is to give reliable and accurate information to investors with regard to the early stages of IPOs, venture capital, and private placements. It also offers a newsletter and market alerts with free registration. The Quick Search box allows you to search for IPOs, ADRs, EDGAR documents, underwriters, accountants and law firms, among other criteria. When I searched for my own law firm and IPOs, I got a list of 16 recent IPOs that my firm had participated in.
Yahoo!Finance IPOs
There’s lots of free information on this site: a listing of recent IPOs with links to news and profiles; a list of IPOs by company and industry with links to more detailed information; the Best and Worst post-IPO performance for the preceding year; and news articles.
Alert-IPO! offers two levels of service: free information on IPO filings found by scanning the EDGAR database and a subscription-only alert service. Information can be searched by state, industry, country, underwriter, and other criteria as well as by company name, and there are links to SEC documents. The subscription service costs $34.95 a year and involves email notices of reports within 24 hours of filing plus weekly summaries and a nightly news feed of the day’s events and of upcoming IPOs.
IPO Data Company Profiles
Produced by IPO Data Systems, this site has information on companies that have had an IPO since 1994. However, only the information for 2001 is free. Users must subscribe to the service to access the earlier data, which includes company and industry description, details on the filing, and links to the documents in the EDGAR database. Subscriptions range from $100 per year, billed annually; $30 per quarter, billed quarterly: or $15 per month, billed monthly.

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Additional Sources of Global Information

SEDAR is Canada’s electronic filing database for public companies and mutual funds. It has been in use since 1997. SEDAR also has a separate database of company profiles, which link to the companies’ filings.
To quickly link to stock exchanges in the U.S. and around the world, use this site. The left side of the screen, which is the site map, is divided into regions of the world; click to go to pages with stock exchange links and other information. Or, for just stock exchange links, click on the regions under Stock Exchanges in the middle of the screen. There are also links to Derivative Exchanges, Central Banks, and American Depository Receipts. The Equity Research button links to Wright Investors’ Service profiles of over 12,000 companies worldwide. The site also connects to articles, commentary and analysis.
Business Information Sources on the Internet – Directories: Worldwide and Other Countries
Often it’s all we can do to locate a company in another country. This site links to various directories; some are global, but there is a special emphasis on the UK and North America.
An online version of the European Business Directory, this site gives very basic directory-type information for over 500,000 companies in Europe; many are small and medium-sized. You can search by product, service, or company name, and narrow results by country. Or you can select from a list of categories on the home page. Unlike most of the other web sites discussed, Europages does not link to company home pages.
irasia.com stands for Investor Relations Asia Pacific. Launched in 1996, it covers 2500 listed companies in the Asia-Pacific region. A search box allows you to search by company name, stock code, country of listing, and industry sector. Although relatively few companies are included, each entry offers a great deal of information, such as corporate profiles, links to annual reports, press releases and announcements, links to the appropriate stock exchange, and more.
Another database that offers partial information to non-subscribers, AssessAsia.com is a yellow pages for companies in 8 Asian countries. Partial in this case means only company names and SIC codes but not addresses. You can use this site to identify companies in the 8 countries, but if you want a location without paying you’ll have to go elsewhere. An annual subscription costs $95.
Asia BIG Series
Directory of businesses, products, and services in Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan.
Banks Worldwide
A directory of thousands of banks (including central banks) worldwide, with links to their web sites. You can search by country and bank name.
AllBusiness Directory
A directory of over 1,000,000 small to medium-sized businesses in over 9000 categories from around the world. Listings link to business web sites.
Directory of businesses in the UK, with plans for expansion of coverage.

<Table of Contents>

Service U.S. companies Foreign companeis Public Private Free Fee
CEO Express X X X X X
Business.com X X X X X
DowJones Interactive X X X X X
Corporate Information X X X X X
Lexis X X X X X
Westlaw X X X X X
Dialog X X X X X
Company Sleuth X X X X
EDGAR Online X X X
10K Wizard X X X
Disclosure/Primark X X X X
Dun & Bradstreet X X X X X
Hoover’s Online X X X X X X
Thomas Register X X (Canada) X X X
Wall St. Res Net X X X
Kompass.com X X X X X X
Fortune 500 X X X X
Fortune Global 500 X X X X X
Forbes 500s X X X
Standard & Poor’s X X X X X
FIS Online X X X X
Eurobase X X X X (for now)
BizWeb Not determined Not determined X X X
Ann. Rpt. Gallery X X X
Secy of States Site X X X X
Choice Point X X X X
Court Express X X X X X
CourtLink X X X X X
Yahoo!Finance X X X X X
Yahoo! Finance IPOs X X X X X


1 A sample header can be found at http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/sampleheader.htm. <back to text>

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