06. Company History

6.1 When and how did the company start?
6.2 Have its structure and operations remained the same?
6.3 Summarize key events in the company’s recent history.
6.4 List recent mergers and/or acquisitions.

The company web site is an excellent place to start investigating the company’s history.

Businesses must register with the Secretary of State office in the state they are located. Search Systems provides a meta search for all states in the U.S. and Canada. The best way to proceed is to choose “Corporations and Companies” and then select the state or province where the firm is headquartered. This will bring you to one or more corporate directories. This may vary by state or province. You can also search by state or province alone and explore all the possible information that is collected.

Open Corporates also provides access to public records on privately held firms worldwide.

A general news search may be helpful for more recent history. For older materials use an advanced search on Google News or the Wayback Machine, which allows you to look at historical web sites back to 1996.

The Dunn and Bradstreet Report on your firm may contain additional information. You will need to purchase it from D&B.

UMass Resources (for UMass students only)

Mergent Online is an excellent sources of information on corporate history.

Business Source Complete provides general information on privately held firms and, depending on size, also provides a Medtrack or Market Line report.

Mergent Archive has annual reports and other corporate information back to 1909.