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Researching a business

Octo2005

Brilliant_Rock
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I was hoping that the very knowledgable PS'rs can help point my to the best was to research a business? Is there a way to find assets, debts and things like that? @MollyMalone, I seem to recall seeing you mention a website in an old thread, but can't find it.

Thanks for your help everyone
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
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Is this in the UK or elsewhere?

Companies House in the UK has details of company directors and financial statements/reporting that has been lodged with them, amongst other things, but I'm not sure if the same exists for other countries.
 

CSpan

Shiny_Rock
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Mar 7, 2016
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Where to start. What is that you want to know, financials?

If they are publicly listed I would check out SEC.gov as they would have to file paperwork. If you know the state they are incorporated in then the Secretary of State website should be your first stop. That should get you lots of info and the DUNS number. From there I just google away. Do they have US government contracts? If so, then they would be listed on all manner of websites with loads more details because govt contractors are required to file and make public all sorts of info that other companies are not.
Private equity and privately held is harder to find open source on financials but it can be done. Lexis Nexus is a good resource too, they often have free trials. I am forgetting quite a few sites but if you google money laundering investigations you should find resource pages with links. It is surprising how often publicly available info is often the best.

Hopefully this gets you started. If you feel comfortable posting more context I am happy to find some further tailored resources.
 

Octo2005

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Is this in the UK or elsewhere?

Companies House in the UK has details of company directors and financial statements/reporting that has been lodged with them, amongst other things, but I'm not sure if the same exists for other countries.
Thank you @OoohShiny, It is in the US
 

Octo2005

Brilliant_Rock
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Where to start. What is that you want to know, financials?

If they are publicly listed I would check out SEC.gov as they would have to file paperwork. If you know the state they are incorporated in then the Secretary of State website should be your first stop. That should get you lots of info and the DUNS number. From there I just google away. Do they have US government contracts? If so, then they would be listed on all manner of websites with loads more details because govt contractors are required to file and make public all sorts of info that other companies are not.
Private equity and privately held is harder to find open source on financials but it can be done. Lexis Nexus is a good resource too, they often have free trials. I am forgetting quite a few sites but if you google money laundering investigations you should find resource pages with links. It is surprising how often publicly available info is often the best.

Hopefully this gets you started. If you feel comfortable posting more context I am happy to find some further tailored resources.
Unfortunately, this is just a small business (fitness club) that a friend of my DH's from college owns and has asked for a small personal loan. I was able to find the record with their state's Secretary of State website, but that doesn't really tell me anything, other than the friend asking to borrow the money is not listed as the owner (their soon to be ex-spouse is), but I don't know enough to know if that necessarily means anything.

A general background search that I ran on one of those websites revealed to tax lean records, of substantial amounts) but I have no idea how to look into that further.
 

Wewechew

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Unfortunately, this is just a small business (fitness club) that a friend of my DH's from college owns and has asked for a small personal loan. I was able to find the record with their state's Secretary of State website, but that doesn't really tell me anything, other than the friend asking to borrow the money is not listed as the owner (their soon to be ex-spouse is), but I don't know enough to know if that necessarily means anything.

A general background search that I ran on one of those websites revealed to tax lean records, of substantial amounts) but I have no idea how to look into that further.
Please be careful. It's very easy to "cook the books" to make a company look more profitable than it is. I did some consulting for a company a couple weeks ago and the things I found proved that the financials my client was being shown on a monthly basis were pure fiction. Please get an independent financial analysis done on the financials if you decide to give a loan to your friend.
 
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CSpan

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Hmm. I would be wary of the liens. Basically that means the state can come in and claim whatever the amount is or take the entire thing if the liens are not paid off. Usually when liens are involved, like in property, the property cannot be sold unless the liens are forgiven.
 

Octo2005

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From what I could find they are IRS liens against the soon to be ex and are posted against what was the family home, which is currently for sale. The actual physical address of the business is different, but according to the SOS website the business address is listed as the same address of said home.
 

distracts

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I would be very wary of lending in these circumstances, based on the principle that if they were a good bet to be able to pay the money back, they'd be able to get a loan from a bank or credit union. They're asking you instead, which is a good sign that any professional lenders they've asked think they won't get paid back. If you can afford to straight-up give the money, and are willing to do that, I'd lend while privately expecting that the money may never be returned. Of course if the friend is a SAHP or something where they don't have a financial history and wouldn't be able to get a loan from a financial institution due to that, that changes the picture and I'd be significantly more willing in that circumstance.
 

cmd2014

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I don't think loans and friendships mix, unless you are willing and able and would be able to forgive if you never saw a penny of it back.

There are a lot of red flags in this situation. You are unlikely to see the money come back. If the amount is small enough and it's worth it to you to give it to your husband's friend knowing that it is a bad investment (and more likely to be a gift than a loan) that helps someone out in need, then that's an ok reason to do it. But if it's not what you can afford to lose and it would be tough to forgive if you didn't get paid back, then I would not.
 

MollyMalone

Ideal_Rock
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Unfortunately, this is just a small business (fitness club) that a friend of my DH's from college owns and has asked for a small personal loan. I was able to find the record with their state's Secretary of State website, but that doesn't really tell me anything, other than the friend asking to borrow the money is not listed as the owner (their soon to be ex-spouse is), but I don't know enough to know if that necessarily means anything.

A general background search that I ran on one of those websites revealed to tax lean records, of substantial amounts) but I have no idea how to look into that further.
From what I could find they are IRS liens against the soon to be ex and are posted against what was the family home, which is currently for sale. The actual physical address of the business is different, but according to the SOS website the business address is listed as the same address of said home.
Hi, Octo -- I'm sorry, I didn't see this thread until I logged in this evening. Sounds like you did a great job of tracking down what little information there is to be found online about this small business. Depending on where they live, you may be able to access the local Registry of Deeds database to see if there are any other liens filed against the marital home.

I don't know, of course, how much money is contemplated by this proposed, "small personal loan," the nature of the relationship with the friend from college, if she/he has indicated what they would use the money for (pay their divorce attorney?), etc. But my strong suggestion would be that you and your husband either
* decline to lend the money, but perhaps offer to pay the origination fee for a peer-to-peer loan if the friend is able to secure one of those

or

* you give the money as an outright gift (and be pleasantly surprised if the money is repaid), if you two can do so freely without regret and assuming that hitting the current, lifetime gift-estate tax exclusion of $22.8 million for a married couple is not a concern of yours. A joint gift of up to $30,000 will not incur any gift tax payable by you two.

I.e., I would not enter into a loan agreement even with the "secret" understanding and acceptance on the part of you and your husband that this might end up being a gift after all.








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OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
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I don't think loans and friendships mix, unless you are willing and able and would be able to forgive if you never saw a penny of it back.
+1 to this.

As a much wiser person than me once said, never mix business and pleasure!
 
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