Find the Inside Scoop on a Business

Suppose a corporation announces it is locating in your area. Or a big company in your region is in the news.  You need some background on the business.

If it’s a publicly-traded company (stock is traded) then it has to file regular reports about its business operations with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The website, Edgar, is your easy access to all those reports.

Reading and understanding the documents, however, is a bit harder. So here are some quick tips from many years ago from New York Times reporter Diana Henriques that are still valid:

  • 10- Q covers operations, property, finances, pending suits, and the  background of corporate officers,
  •  8-K shows significant changes in sales, new management, lawsuit,a court judgment or fine. Diana once told me, “if the PR person says something is the most significant thing the company has done in years, ask if it has filed an 8-K. Then you’ll know whether it is significant.”
  • Pre-14-A previews shareholder votes on upcoming issues, sometimes including  executive compensation.
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