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A subsidiary, subsidiary company or daughter company is a company that is owned or controlled by another company, which is called the parent company, parent, or holding company. The subsidiary can be a company, corporation, or limited liability company. In some cases it is a government or state-owned enterprise.
In the United States railroad industry, an operating subsidiary is a company that is a subsidiary but operates with its own identity, locomotives and . In contrast, a non-operating subsidiary would exist on paper only (i.e., stocks, bonds, articles of incorporation) and would use the identity 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,Leucadia National Corporation, Time Warner, or Citigroup; as well as more focused companies such as IBM or Xerox. These, and others, organize their businesses into national and functional subsidiaries, often with multiple levels of subsidiaries.
Subsidiaries are the 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, therefore any copyrights trademarks and patents remain with the subsidiary until the parent shuts down the subsidiary.
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