A subsidiary, subsidiary company or daughter companyis a company owned or controlled by another company, which is called the parent company or holding company. Two or more subsidiaries that either belong to the same parent company or having a same management being substantially controlled by same entity/group are called sister companies. The subsidiary will be required to follow the laws where it is headquartered and incorporated. It will also maintain its own executive leadership.
The subsidiary can be a company (usually with limited liability) and may be a government-owned or state-owned enterprise. They are a common feature of modern business life, and most multinational corporations organize their operations in this way.Examples of holding companies are Berkshire Hathaway, Jefferies Financial Group, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Discovery, or Citigroup; as well as more focused companies such as IBM, Xerox, and Microsoft. These, and others, organize their businesses into national and functional subsidiaries, often with multiple levels of subsidiaries.
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Subsidiaries are separate, distinct legal entities for the purposes of taxation, regulation and liability. For this reason, they differ from divisions, which are businesses fully integrated within the main company, and not legally or otherwise distinct from it.In other words, a subsidiary can sue and be sued separately from its parent and its obligations will not normally be the obligations of its parent. However, creditors of an insolvent subsidiary may be able to obtain a judgment against the parent if they can pierce the corporate veil and prove that the parent and subsidiary are mere alter egos of one another. Thus any copyrights, trademarks, and patents remain with the subsidiary until the parent shuts down the subsidiary.
Ownership of a subsidiary is usually achieved by owning a majority of its shares. This gives the parent the necessary votes to elect their nominees as directors of the subsidiary, and so exercise control. This gives rise to the common presumption that 50% plus one share is enough to create a subsidiary. There are, however, other ways that control can come about, and the exact rules both as to what control is needed, and how it is achieved, can be complex (see below). A subsidiary may itself have subsidiaries, and these, in turn, may have subsidiaries of their own. A parent and all its subsidiaries together are called a corporate, although this term can also apply to cooperating companies and their subsidiaries with varying degrees of shared ownership.
A parent company does not have to be the larger or "more powerful" entity; it is possible for the parent company to be smaller than a subsidiary, such as DanJaq, a closely held family company, which controls Eon Productions, the large corporation which manages the James Bond franchise. Conversely, the parent may be larger than some or all of its subsidiaries (if it has more than one), as the relationship is defined by control of ownership shares, not the number of employees.
The parent and the subsidiary do not necessarily have to operate in the same locations or operate the same businesses. Not only is it possible that they could conceivably be competitors in the marketplace, but such arrangements happen frequently at the end of a hostile takeover or voluntary merger. Also, because a parent company and a subsidiary are separate entities, it is entirely possible for one of them to be involved in legal proceedings, bankruptcy, tax delinquency, indictment or under investigation while the other is not.
In descriptions of larger corporate structures, the terms "first-tier subsidiary", "second-tier subsidiary", "third-tier subsidiary", etc. most are often used to describe multiple levels of subsidiaries. A first-tier subsidiary means a subsidiary/child company of the ultimate parent company,while a second-tier subsidiary is a subsidiary of a first-tier subsidiary: a "grandchild" of the main parent company. Consequently, a third-tier subsidiary is a subsidiary of a second-tier subsidiary—a "great-grandchild" of the main parent company.
The ownership structure of the small British specialist company Ford Component Sales, which sells Ford components to specialist car manufacturers and OEM manufacturers, such as Morgan Motor Company and Caterham Cars,illustrates how multiple levels of subsidiaries are used in large corporations:
The word "control" and its derivatives (subsidiary and parent) may have different meanings in different contexts. These concepts may have different meanings in various areas of law (e.g. corporate law, competition law, capital markets law) or in accounting. For example, if Company A purchases shares in Company B, it is possible that the transaction is not subject to merger control (because Company A had been deemed to already control Company B before the share purchase, under competition law rules), but at the same time Company A may be required to start consolidating Company B into its financial statements under the relevant accounting rules (because it had been treated as a joint venture before the purchase for accounting purposes).
Control can be direct (e.g., an ultimate parent company controls the first-tier subsidiary directly) or indirect (e.g., an ultimate parent company controls second and lower tiers of subsidiaries indirectly, through first-tier subsidiaries).
Recital 31 of Directive 2013/34/EUstipulates that control should be based on holding a majority of voting rights, but control may also exist where there are agreements with fellow shareholders or members. In certain circumstances, control may be effectively exercised where the parent holds a minority or none of the shares in the subsidiary.
According to Article 22 of the directive 2013/34/EU an undertaking is a parent if it:
Additionally, control may arise when:
Under the international accounting standards adopted by the EUa company is deemed to control another company only if it has all the following:
A subsidiary can have only one parent; otherwise, the subsidiary is, in fact, a joint arrangement (joint operation or joint venture) over which two or more parties have joint control (IFRS 11 para 4). Joint control is the contractually agreed sharing of control of an arrangement, which exists only when decisions about the relevant activities require the unanimous consent of the parties sharing control.
The Companies Act 2006 contains two definitions: one of "subsidiary" and the other "subsidiary undertaking".
According to s.1159 of the Act, a company is a "subsidiary" of another company, its "holding company", if that other company:
The second definition is broader. According to s.1162 of the Companies Act 2006, an undertaking is a parent undertaking in relation to another undertaking, a subsidiary undertaking, if:
An undertaking is also a parent undertaking in relation to another undertaking, a subsidiary undertaking, if:
The broader definition of "subsidiary undertaking" is applied to the accounting provisions of the Companies Act 2006, while the definition of "subsidiary" is used for general purposes.
In Oceania, the accounting standards defined the circumstances in which one entity controls another.[ citation needed ] In doing so, they largely abandoned the legal control concepts in favour of a definition that provides that "control" is "the capacity of an entity to dominate decision-making, directly or indirectly, in relation to the financial and operating policies of another entity so as to enable that other entity to operate with it in pursuing the objectives of the controlling entity". This definition was adapted in the Australian Corporations Act 2001: s 50AA. Furthermore, it can be a useful part of the company that allows every head of the company to apply new projects and latest rules.
A board of directors is an executive committee that jointly supervises the activities of an organization, which can be either a for-profit or a nonprofit organization such as a business, nonprofit organization, or a government agency.
A societas Europaea is a public company registered in accordance with the corporate law of the European Union (EU), introduced in 2004 with the Council Regulation on the Statute for a European Company. Such a company may more easily transfer to or merge with companies in other member states.
Business is the practice of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products. It is also "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit."
A holding company is a company whose primary business is holding a controlling interest in the securities of other companies. A holding company usually does not produce goods or services itself. Its purpose is to own stock of other companies to form a corporate group.
Corporate governance are mechanisms, processes and relations by which corporations are controlled and operated ("governed").
A joint venture (JV) is a business entity created by two or more parties, generally characterized by shared ownership, shared returns and risks, and shared governance. Companies typically pursue joint ventures for one of four reasons: to access a new market, particularly emerging market; to gain scale efficiencies by combining assets and operations; to share risk for major investments or projects; or to access skills and capabilities.
Corporate law is the body of law governing the rights, relations, and conduct of persons, companies, organizations and businesses. The term refers to the legal practice of law relating to corporations, or to the theory of corporations. Corporate law often describes the law relating to matters which derive directly from the life-cycle of a corporation. It thus encompasses the formation, funding, governance, and death of a corporation.
A capital requirement is the amount of capital a bank or other financial institution has to have as required by its financial regulator. This is usually expressed as a capital adequacy ratio of equity as a percentage of risk-weighted assets. These requirements are put into place to ensure that these institutions do not take on excess leverage and risk becoming insolvent. Capital requirements govern the ratio of equity to debt, recorded on the liabilities and equity side of a firm's balance sheet. They should not be confused with reserve requirements, which govern the assets side of a bank's balance sheet—in particular, the proportion of its assets it must hold in cash or highly-liquid assets. Capital is a source of funds not a use of funds.
In business, consolidation or amalgamation is the merger and acquisition of many smaller companies into a few much larger ones. In the context of financial accounting, consolidation refers to the aggregation of financial statements of a group company as consolidated financial statements. The taxation term of consolidation refers to the treatment of a group of companies and other entities as one entity for tax purposes. Under the Halsbury's Laws of England, amalgamation is defined as "a blending together of two or more undertakings into one undertaking, the shareholders of each blending company, becoming, substantially, the shareholders of the blended undertakings. There may be amalgamations, either by transfer of two or more undertakings to a new company or the transfer of one or more companies to an existing company".
A corporate group, company group or business group, also formally known as a group of companies, is a collection of parent and subsidiary corporations that function as a single economic entity through a common source of control. These types of groups are often managed by an account manager. The concept of a group is frequently used in tax law, accounting and company law to attribute the rights and duties of one member of the group to another or the whole. If the corporations are engaged in entirely different businesses, the group is called a conglomerate. The forming of corporate groups usually involves consolidation via mergers and acquisitions, although the group concept focuses on the instances in which the merged and acquired corporate entities remain in existence rather than the instances in which they are dissolved by the parent. The group may be owned by a holding company which may have no actual operations.
The Companies Act 2006 is an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which forms the primary source of UK company law.
A variable interest entity (VIE) is a legal structure defined by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) for situations where control over a legal entity may be demonstrated through means other than voting rights. A public company with a financial interest in such entities may be subject to certain financial reporting requirements.
Tag along rights (TARs) comprise a group of clauses in a contract which together have the effect of allowing the minority shareholder(s) in a corporation to also take part in a sale of shares by the majority shareholder to a third party under the same terms and conditions.
The United Kingdom company law regulates corporations formed under the Companies Act 2006. Also governed by the Insolvency Act 1986, the UK Corporate Governance Code, European Union Directives and court cases, the company is the primary legal vehicle to organise and run business. Tracing their modern history to the late Industrial Revolution, public companies now employ more people and generate more of wealth in the United Kingdom economy than any other form of organisation. The United Kingdom was the first country to draft modern corporation statutes, where through a simple registration procedure any investors could incorporate, limit liability to their commercial creditors in the event of business insolvency, and where management was delegated to a centralised board of directors. An influential model within Europe, the Commonwealth and as an international standard setter, UK law has always given people broad freedom to design the internal company rules, so long as the mandatory minimum rights of investors under its legislation are complied with.
Australian corporations law has historically borrowed heavily from UK company law. Its legal structure now consists of a single, national statute, the Corporations Act 2001. The statute is administered by a single national regulatory authority, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).
United States corporate law regulates the governance, finance and power of corporations in US law. Every state and territory has its own basic corporate code, while federal law creates minimum standards for trade in company shares and governance rights, found mostly in the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended by laws like the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 and the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The US Constitution was interpreted by the US Supreme Court to allow corporations to incorporate in the state of their choice, regardless of where their headquarters are. Over the 20th century, most major corporations incorporated under the Delaware General Corporation Law, which offered lower corporate taxes, fewer shareholder rights against directors, and developed a specialized court and legal profession. Nevada has attempted to do the same. Twenty-four states follow the Model Business Corporation Act, while New York and California are important due to their size.
The Unidroit convention on substantive rules for intermediated securities, also known as the Geneva Securities Convention, was adopted on 9 October 2009. It has been signed by only one of the 40 negotiating States (Bangladesh), but not entered into force. The official commentary was published in 2012.
The Transparency Directive, Transparency Obligations Directive or Directive 2004/109/EC is an EU Directive issued in 2004, revising an earlier Directive 2001/34/EC. The Transparency Directive was amended in 2013 by the Transparency Directive Amending Directive.
The British Virgin Islands company law is the law that governs businesses registered in the British Virgin Islands. It is primarily codified through the BVI Business Companies Act, 2004, and to a lesser extent by the Insolvency Act, 2003 and by the Securities and Investment Business Act, 2010. The British Virgin Islands has approximately 30 registered companies per head of population, which is likely the highest ratio of any country in the world. Annual company registration fees provide a significant part of Government revenue in the British Virgin Islands, which accounts for the comparative lack of other taxation. This might explain why company law forms a much more prominent part of the law of the British Virgin Islands when compared to countries of similar size.
European company law is the part of European Union law which concerns the formation, operation and insolvency of companies in the European Union. The EU creates minimum standards for companies throughout the EU, and has its own corporate forms. All member states continue to operate separate companies acts, which are amended from time to time to comply with EU Directives and Regulations. There is, however, also the option of businesses to incorporate as a Societas Europaea (SE), which allows a company to operate across all member states.
A subsidiary functions as a separate legal entity rather than a division of the parent company. It is sometimes referred to as a daughter company.