Subsidiary Company

When this occurs, the child company is referred to as a “wholly-owned subsidiary.” It may hold the majority of shares in a subsidiary company, allowing it to control and manage the organization. Parent and holding companies are often used as interchangeable terms, but there are key differences. A parent company can either create the subsidiary company or purchase the majority shares in an existing company.

The parent company will be recorded as owners of the subsidiary during the incorporation process. Subsidiaries are a commonly used structure for both national and international corporations. Tiers of subsidiaries can be used to group a range of industries within a multinational conglomerate. The structure can also be used to bring together companies from within one sector in a corporate group. This guide will explain what a subsidiary company is, how they work, key definitions and the benefits they bring to corporations. A subsidiary company is a company that is completely or partially owned by another company, which may be a parent company that also has business operations or a holding company whose sole purpose is to own its subsidiaries. However, given their controlling interest parent companies often have considerable influence with their subsidiaries.

What Is The Purpose Of A Subsidiary Company?

The overall structure might see different holding companies covering different sectors, all under one parent company. The subsidiary companies can often be unrelated to each other within the conglomerate. By being invested in a diverse range of industries and businesses, the parent corporation can mitigate the risk of financial downturn and upheaval.

  • By dealing out lead or contributing roles to the smaller or less developed units, even if only for one or two strategically less important products, the headquarters group will give them a huge incentive.
  • It created a position at European headquarters in Brussels to develop a Pampers strategy for the whole continent.
  • This benefits the company for the purposes of taxation, regulation, and liability.
  • Subsidiaries focusing on specific product or technology development can strengthen the corporation as a whole.
  • With a unit placed in a contributor role, the head-office task is to redirect local resources to programs outside the unit’s control.
  • When General Electric eventually brought out a competitive product with a shorter scan time, customers deserted EMI.

A wholly owned subsidiary, also known as the parent company, is a company whose common stock is 100% owned by a holding company. The head office maintains tighter control over a subsidiary in an implementer role. Communication of strategies developed elsewhere and control of routine tasks can be carried out through systems, allowing headquarters to manage these units more efficiently than most others. Another path to empowerment takes the form of dislodging the decision-making process from the home office. Ericsson combats the headquarters hierarchy syndrome by appointing product and functional managers from headquarters to subsidiary boards.

Since one of Alphabet’s largest products is Google Maps, subsidiaries such as Sidewalk Labs can strengthen the company’s overall business operations. So national companies must not be regarded as just pipelines but recognized as sources of information and expertise that can build competitive advantage. The best way to exploit this resource is not through centralized direction and control but through a cooperative effort and co-option of dispersed capabilities. In such a relationship, the entrepreneurial spark plugs in the national units can flourish. NEC’s next-generation digital switch, the NEAC 61E, evolved quite differently. Exercising their new influence at headquarters, U.S. subsidiary managers took the lead in establishing its features and specifications and played a big part in the design.

What Is A Subsidiary Company, Exactly?

Any potential legal and financial issues will be contained within the affected subsidiary as individual entities. Limited financial liability for the wider holding corporation, containing potential losses within the subsidiary company.

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  • Examples include holding companies such as Berkshire Hathaway, Jefferies Financial Group, The Walt Disney Company, WarnerMedia, or Citigroup; as well as more focused companies such as IBM, Xerox, or Microsoft.
  • In each of these important markets, strong local presence is essential for maintaining the company’s global position.
  • A corporation is a legal entity created by individuals, stockholders, or shareholders, with the purpose of operating for profit.
  • The brand group in the lead country, West Germany, had undertaken product and market testing, settled on the package design and advertising theme, and developed the marketing strategy.
  • The resources to analyze data and develop strategic responses to competitive challenges that were emerging worldwide.
  • In this role, the subsidiary serves as a partner of headquarters in developing and implementing strategy.

Although the parent keeps majority ownership, the subsidiary remains as a separate, legal entity which shows in their liabilities and taxation. Some of the largest corporations in the world consist of a collection of smaller companies.

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The second subsidiary company can be described as a second-tier subsidiary of the overall parent corporation. A subsidiary, subsidiary company or daughter company is a company owned or controlled by another company, which is called the parent company or holding company. Two subsidiaries that belong to the same parent company are called sister companies. The strategic importance of a specific country unit is strongly influenced by the significance of its national environment to the company’s global strategy.

Ericsson has solved the problem in its Australian subsidiary by attaching half the R&D team to headquarters, which farms out to these engineers projects that are part of the company’s global development program. For each important brand the company formed a management team that carried the responsibility for development and coordination of marketing strategy for Europe. Each Eurobrand team was headed not by a manager from headquarters but by the general manager and the appropriate brand group from the “lead” subsidiary—a unit selected for its success and creativity with the brand. Supporting them were brand managers from other subsidiaries, functional managers from headquarters, and anyone else involved in strategy for the particular product. Team meetings became forums for the lead-country group to pass on ideas, propose action, and hammer out agreements. So the company launched what became known as the Pampers experiment—an approach firmly grounded in the classic U.N.

Under the circumstances, management saw the need to coopt this valuable subsidiary expertise and channel it toward projects of corporate importance. A well-known use of the subsidiary corporate structure is within multinational conglomerates. This is usually one vast parent corporation that owns a range of smaller independent companies. Conglomerates often have diverse portfolios of companies from across many sectors. They can also focus on gaining controlling shares of companies within one specific industry. Unlike holding companies, parent companies provide services and products themselves. In essence, it is a fully functioning business that has majority control of at least one other company.

What Does A Subsidiary Do?

As a wholly-owned subsidiary, Centerville Cable Communications offers cable television and internet services. It has its own subsidiaries, including Centerville Developments and Center Mart. It owns other large media companies such as Guy With a Camera Pictures , Magic Animation Studios, Magic Television and Magic Film. It owns several subsidiaries, with Magic Man Studios and Magic Media Networks being the largest.

Diligent Entities tracks governance decisions, regulatory compliance, and financial records in one easy-to-access dashboard. Analyze entity information from your entire corporation group in real-time. A subsidiary produces its own financial statements and may file its own tax return. However, publicly traded companies that own 80% or more of their subsidiaries may file consolidated tax returns that enable them to offset profits from some subsidiaries with losses from others.

The implementers’ efficiency is as important as the creativity of the strategic leaders or contributors—and perhaps more so, for it is this group that provides the strategic leverage that affords MNCs their competitive advantage. The implementers produce the opportunity to capture economies of scale and scope that are crucial to most companies’ global strategies. Filling this role is a subsidiary operating in a small or strategically unimportant market but having a distinctive capability.

Why Form A Subsidiary?

It’s unknown how many subsidiaries Alphabet has incubating, but its likely in the hundreds. You’re probably aware of some other well-known companies, like General Motors, which has about 1,500 subsidiaries in Delaware. Entrepreneurs form thousands of Delaware LLC subsidiaries every month, each with discrete purposes and assets of their own. The flexibility of LLCs and the proliferation of subsidiaries allow new possibilities in asset protection. If you’re not one of the thousands who already have, consider forming a Delaware LLC with LLC subsidiaries and reap the economic benefits that Google, Alphabet, and many other companies have identified. Having subsidiaries helps companies compartmentalize liability risks to keep creditors away from the other valuable assets. For example, one of the subsidiaries may file for bankruptcy without having the rest of the business go through the process.


Top management at NEC headquarters in Tokyo strives to inculcate its worldwide organization with an understanding of the C&C strategy and philosophy. It is this strong, shared understanding that permits greater differentiation of managerial processes and the decentralization of tasks.

Ownership is determined by the percentage of shares held by the parent company, and that ownership stake must be at least 51%. The SEC states that only in rare cases, such as when a subsidiary is undergoing bankruptcy, should a majority-owned subsidiary not be consolidated. Anunconsolidated subsidiaryis a subsidiary with financials that are not included in its parent company’s statements. Ownership of such firms is typically treated as an equity investment and denoted as an asset on the parent company’s balance sheet. For regulatory reasons, unconsolidated subsidiary firms are typically those in which parent firms do not have a significant stake. The parent holds a controlling interest in the subsidiary company, meaning it has or controls more than half of its stock.


The e-commerce firm notes in the annual report that the individual domestic and consolidated subsidiary, StubHub, generated revenue of $307 million.

Holding Company Vs Parent Company

For most products, P&G had one or two European subsidiaries that had been more creative, committed, and successful than the others. By extending the responsibilities and influence of these organizations, top management reasoned, the company could make the success infectious. All that was needed was a means for promoting intersubsidiary cooperation that could offset the problems caused by the company’s dispersed and independent operations. The uniform systems and procedures tend to paper over any differences in the informal treatment of subsidiaries.

As worldwide demand built up, delivery lead times for the scanner stretched out more than 12 months. Corporate management would not allow local sourcing or duplicate manufacturing of the components that were the bottlenecks causing delays. A subsidiary is a company that is owned or controlled by a parent or holding company.

The Croydon plant is recognized as Philips’ center of competence and international sourcing plant for teletext-TV sets. While the demise of its scanner business represents an extreme example, the problems EMI faced are common.

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