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Use these sources for a quick overview of a company.
Company Snapshot (LexisNexis)
Although this includes both public and private companies, more information will be available on public companies.
Hoover's provides detailed information on 40,000 public and non-public companies.
International Directory of Company Histories
Online from volume 139, 2012 to the present, this source provides detailed accounts of company histories. Volumes 1 through 138 are available in Reference - call number Ref HD2721 .I58
Mergent Online ( Available through November 2014)
Mergent is a good source for US and international public companies. It includes company histories in addition to current and historical financial statements. Financial data is easily downloaded into a spreadsheet.
In addition to finding an overview of a company, Ref USA also allows you to make lists of companies based on several criteria such as location or industry. RefUSA also tracks parent and subsidaries.