A subsidiary company, subsidiary, or daughter company is a company that is completely or partly owned and partly or wholly controlled by another company that owns more than half of the subsidiary's stock. The subsidiary can be a company, corporation, or limited liability company. In some cases it is a government or state-owned enterprise. The controlling entity is called its parent company, parent, or holding company.
An operating subsidiary is a business term constantly used within the United States railroad industry. In the case of a railroad, it refers to a company that is a subsidiary but operates with its own identity, locomotives and rolling stock. In contrast, a non-operating subsidiary would exist on paper only (i.e. stocks, bonds, articles of incorporation) and would use the identity and rolling stock of the parent company.
Subsidiaries are a common feature of business life, and all multinational corporations organize their operations in this way. Examples include holding companies such as Berkshire Hathaway as in this listing of its subsidiaries, Time Warner, or Citigroup; as well as more focused companies such as IBM, or Xerox Corporation. These, and others, organize their businesses into national and functional subsidiaries, oftentimes with multiple levels of subsidiaries.
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