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Does anyone know of a free source for bankruptcy data? I'm specifically interested in the companies' balance sheets before they filed for bankruptcy.

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There is a private database: http://www.bankruptcydata.com/ which appears to have all bankruptcy filings logged. It has a subscription but appears to offer a free trial. To access public court filings in general which would include bankruptcy filings you'll ned access to PACER which is the government's database for all public court filings although it does require an account and charges a fee for each document (https://www.pacer.gov/). In general public bankruptcy filings are likely not going to be offered for free publicly given that it appears there is no official government body which gathers this information.

Your best bet to find balance sheets before bankruptcy is to look at a company's 10K or 10Q SEC filings which includes balance sheets and other required data for publicly traded companies to report to the SEC quarterly. 10K reports are the year end reports and 10Q reports are quarterly reports. The SEC has a useful database for these reports called EDGAR where you can look them up: https://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/companysearch.html.

Note that the SEC filings only apply to publicly traded companies. Non-publicly traded companies have no requirement to disclose their balance sheets and that information likely isn't available to you.

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  • $\begingroup$ EDGAR seems to be exactly what I was looking for, thanks! Unfortunately I don't see a way of connecting the DOJ data to EDGAR. Is there no list of companies that filed for bankruptcy (no matter what type; or insolvency)? All I need is the company name (or ticker symbol) and the date of filing. $\endgroup$ – FloodLuszt May 4 '17 at 8:08
  • $\begingroup$ There were 25,000+ business bankruptcies in 2016 alone. uscourts.gov/news/2016/07/27/… $\endgroup$ – TheSaint321 May 5 '17 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ What exactly is it that you're trying to do? If you want to query the balance sheets of every company that filed for bankruptcy in a given year you're going to have some problems unless you intend to program a solution. You are going to need to refine your search a bit. $\endgroup$ – TheSaint321 May 5 '17 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ Also, if you are trying to program a solution you will likely run into the issue that every company's 10K report is prepared differently even if it contains the same information. It will likely be difficult to consistently scan 25,000 10K reports using a computer code which all use different formats. You are going to need some sort of a formatted database such as Bloomberg which won't be free. $\endgroup$ – TheSaint321 May 5 '17 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ I was planning on taking company names from one source and then write a script to grab the balance sheet or some interesting entries of the balance sheet automatically. As far as I could see EDGAR displays the balance sheet in HTML so that's a good thing since it's easy to analyze. If the format of the balance sheet itself is heterogeneous I hope that using sets of keywords will suffice to get the interesting entries. $\endgroup$ – FloodLuszt May 6 '17 at 15:54

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