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This may be a silly question, but does there exist a methodology for examining the impact of "events" on companies that are not publicly traded? I suppose it would look at abnormal revenues rather than abnormal returns on the stock market.

Say, for example, that a private business wants to analyze the impact of an advertising campaign or promotion (or any other endogenous event). The "event" would be the promotion, and they would analyze any change in revenue from their "normal" levels. I suppose they would use historical revenue data that had been cleaned to remove any possible cyclical or seasonal components (detrended to isolate the impact of the "event").

So this wouldn't have anything to do with investor expectations or whether an event has real information content. I've found a paper: "Event study methodology in marketing". What I'm looking for is something similar but assessing revenues rather than stock prices. The overarching idea being to quantify the impact of management decisions when there is no stock market data.

I apologize if this is too far outside the realm of quantitative finance. I learned about event studies through investment analysis and financial economics classes. At the moment I'm wondering what sort of data-analysis is possible for smaller businesses.

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Revenue data for non-public companies are available only at a very low frequency, based on financial reporting requirements. It would be impossible to have a long enough period to estimate the normal return in the first place, let alone detect the effect that an event on one single day will have on the annual revenues. Also, it would be very difficult to obtain a stationary time series from this, given that for a large enough estimation period (100 years?) the business environment will be transformed completely and there is an infinite number of other factors which have influence the company's profitability.

It would in theory be possible to use data from performance management systems (cost accounting rather than financial accounting) which may be available to a company at a much higher frequency, which could then be used for a normal return estimation and the determination of cumulative abnormal returns (CARs). However, the implementation of this will be very difficult or impossible because cost accounting information has virtually no standardisation, and is not disclosed by any companies.

Whether to use prices or returns is a completely different question.

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