Corporations can be complex mazes of business, with numerous partners, officers and subsidiaries, depending on the structure of the operation. While public companies are obligated to provide pathways through this maze to all known affiliations within the corporation, it can get tricky with private companies. These businesses are not required to report this type of information and sometimes go to great lengths to ensure that subsidiaries are not easily tied to their organization.
Private organizations are just that for a reason; company reps usually don't want to have to open the books to just anyone. The company's website is a good place to start, but the company may not keep this information on there available to the public. You can attempt to locate a copy of the corporation's annual report in the division of corporations database, but it may not contain information on all holdings and subsidiaries. You also can try looking on the company's website; this information might be found under the investment information tabs.
Public companies have this information on record because they are required by law to do so. Start with the company's website. If it's not there, you may be able to obtain it from the company's annual report that is filing with the division of corporations and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission annually. You also can utilize a database created for this purpose, such as LexisNexis; however, be prepared because search services for corporation information can cost a pretty penny.
Hitting a Dead End
You may hit a dead end in your search, at which point, you may need to work with the company to locate this information. Depending on the reason for which you need to know a corporation's subsidiaries, it may be willing to provide you with answers from a company representative. However, be prepared to explain your reasoning and be persuasive, as many companies tend to keep this information closely guarded unless it's already a matter of public record.
If the company in question is a private one and you don't have its support to locate all of its subsidiaries, you may have to accept that there is no way to know without a bunch of legal wrangling. And in order to go the legal route, you must be embroiled in some kind of legal litigation with the firm. However, if the company is public, you may spend days -- weeks, even -- digging for this information, but it should legally be available via any number of public records databases.
Lynda Moultry Belcher is a writer, editor and public relations professional. She worked for a daily newspaper for 10 years and has been a freelance writer for more than 15 years. She has contributed to Divorce360 and Revolution Health Group, among other publications. She is also the author of "101 Plus-Size Women's Clothing Tips" and writes "Style At Any Size," a bi-weekly newspaper column.