Parent Company

Written By
Paul Tracy
Updated August 5, 2020

What is a Parent Company?

A parent company has control of the management and operations of a subsidiary company. It is also referred to as "holding company."

How Does a Parent Company Work?

A parent company has enough voting stock to influence of the board of directors and control the management and operations of the subsidiary company.

A parent company may be involved in the ownership and control of the subsidiary company for a variety of reasons.   For example, a parent company may have spun off the subsidiary into a new separate company to reduce the overhead and streamline the operating costs.  Alternatively, a parent company may buy shares as well as control of a company to enable it to integrate and coordinate its activities with other subsidiary businesses under the control of the parent company.

Why Does a Parent Company Matter?

Sometimes, a parent company will create subsidiaries for tax and liability purposes, creating separate entities with legal and financial shields to protect it the parent company from recourse or liability.  However, tax and legal treatment of parent companies differs among countries and should be understood and considered.