How Do You Find Out Who Owns a Company?

Documents filed by companies, such as annual reports, articles of incorporation, and state and federal tax filings, typically include the name of a company along with a list of board members or owners. Company websites and sales materials, such as brochures, white papers and spec sheets, may also include the names of company owners. Federal and state business databases also provide company information, such as corporate addresses and owner names.

Publicly traded companies must file quarterly earnings and annual reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. These documents are available to the public on the EDGAR database, which is maintained by the SEC. Privately held companies must file articles of incorporation and other business formation documents with the secretary of state's office, but they do not have to report earnings to the SEC. These documents are available for public viewing through state-maintained databases. In some cases, company names or the names of registered agents are included on these documents. Registered agents manage business correspondence with state and federal agencies. In most states, company owners may act as registered agents. Registered agents are not under any legal obligation to divulge the names of company owners to the public, however. Contacting company legal departments, sales and marketing departments or administrative offices are other ways to obtain the name of a company's owner.