Holding Company: Definition, Benefits, and Drawbacks

A Holding Company: What Is It?

A holding company is a type of commercial entity, typically an LLC or corporation. A holding company, sometimes known as a “Holdco,” typically engages in no manufacturing, sales of goods or services, or other commercial activity. Instead, holding firms own the majority of the shares in other businesses.

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Even if a holding company controls the assets of other businesses, it sometimes simply has supervisory responsibilities. Therefore, even while it might supervise management choices made by the corporation, it stays out of the day-to-day administration of these subsidiaries’ businesses.

Comprehending Holding Companies

Usually, a holding company’s main function is to exert influence over other businesses. In addition, holding corporations could be the owners of stocks, patents, trademarks, real estate, and other assets.

The holding company’s (and its numerous subsidiaries’) exposure to financial and legal risk is reduced by this arrangement. Strategically locating some of a corporation’s operations in tax-haven nations can also reduce the corporation’s overall tax obligation.

Companies that are fully owned by a parent firm are known as “wholly-owned subsidiaries.” Managers of the firms it owns are ultimately in charge of their own operations, even though a holding company has the authority to employ and fire them.

Benefits and Drawbacks of a Parent Company


Holding firms profit from being shielded from financial damage. A bankrupt subsidiary may result in a loss of money and a reduction in the parent company’s net value. Nonetheless, the holding company is immune from legal action by the bankrupt firm’s creditors seeking payment.

Therefore, a parent company may establish up subsidiaries for each of its business lines and organize itself as a holding company as a means of protecting its assets. For instance, the parent company’s trademarks and brand name may be owned by one subsidiary, and its real estate may be owned by another.

Additionally, holding corporations are not too difficult to establish or modify. This makes it simple to benefit from regional variations in taxation regimes: for example, if a jurisdiction has high business taxes, the holding company can move to one with lower business taxes while maintaining activities in the original site.

Holding corporations use their resources to reduce the cost of operating capital in order to sustain its subsidiaries. The parent firm may pledge a loan on behalf of the subsidiary by means of a downstream guarantee.

Negative aspects

Owning subsidiaries through a holding company has some drawbacks. It might be challenging for creditors and investors to obtain a clear image of the holding company’s overall financial situation. Directors that lack ethics may also be able to conceal their losses by transferring debt among their companies.

Holding firms can also take advantage of its subsidiaries by making them choose selected directors or requiring them to purchase goods at rates over market. Additionally, they could compel subsidiaries to sell goods to one another for less than the going rate.

Holding firms occasionally even have the power to have their subsidiaries fire a sizable portion of their staff or steal valuable assets from acquisitions. These tactics, also referred to as “vulture capitalism,” may inflate the parent company’s overall financial figures at the subsidiary’s expense.

Different Holding Company Types

Holding firms are classified into many groups based on how they do business. While some may be involved in other commercial activities, others may solely exist to maintain a single subsidiary. The following provides an explanation of the various holding company types:

Pure Holding Companies: A pure holding company is a business that is solely used to hold shares in other companies. These businesses don’t engage in any other kind of commerce.

Mixed Holding Company: A mixed holding company is a company that manages its subsidiaries while also conducting its own business. This might also be referred to as a holding-operating corporation.

Immediate: A business that owns other businesses while still being owned by another organization is known as an immediate holding company. These are holding corporations, to put it simply, that are held by other holding companies.

Intermediate: These holding companies are subsidiaries of a bigger organization, much as an immediate holding company.

How Financial Holding Companies Are Paid

Depending on the firms in its portfolio, large holding corporations may have several sources of revenue. The easiest method to profit is by owning stock in their subsidiaries: Holding businesses can profit by selling equity in firms that increase in value, as well as from dividends in the share price of the subsidiary.

Furthermore, holding firms stand to gain from the synergies that exist across their subsidiaries. A holding company can concentrate IT, HR, and administrative services and then sell them to the subsidiaries, eliminating the need for distinct teams for each business. Equipment or other assets that may be leased by all of the holding companies’ businesses can also be centralized.

Why Does a Holding Company Exist?

A holding company is a type of financial entity that may be used to own and manage other assets like stocks, real estate, or businesses. By using a holding company, the owners’ responsibility is mitigated in the event that one of the holdings experiences financial difficulties and a legal separation between the assets and the owners is established.

How Can a Holding Company Be Created?

All you have to do to establish a holding company is submit the articles of incorporation to the state or jurisdiction where you wish to register the business. The business agents in charge of the holding and running firms must also be identified. It is beneficial for businesses with substantial assets to have a lawyer because this can be challenging.

A Personal Holding Company: What Is It?

A personal holding corporation is one in which five people or fewer own 50% of the business and at least 60% of its revenue originates from passive sources.

The Final Word

One kind of corporate organization that exists only for the purpose of owning other firms is a holding company. Certain holding corporations are massive conglomerates that operate across numerous industries, while others exist solely for the purpose of overseeing a single company. Holding corporations can be used to lower tax obligations or to shield its owners from losses.

A Holding Company: What Is It? A holding company is a type of commercial entity, typically an LLC or corporation. A holding company, sometimes known as a “Holdco,” typically engages in no manufacturing, sales of goods or services, or other commercial activity. Instead, holding firms own the majority of the shares in other businesses. Read…