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Holding Company - Definition & Advantages of Holding Company | What is a Holding Company?

A holding company, also known as a parent company, holds controlling interests in other firms. It primarily makes management decisions and does not engage in operational or purchase activities. 

What is a Holding Company? 

A holding company is a financial entity that manages and oversees its subsidiary companies. It can gain control over these companies either by acquiring their voting shares or by creating a new corporation and acquiring its shares. The parent company can influence decision-making even with minimal ownership, such as 10% of the voting stock. 

Types of Holding Companies 

  1. Pure Holding Companies: These companies solely hold the assets of subsidiary companies.
  2. Mixed or Holding Operating Companies: These companies control other firms while also conducting their own operations.
  3. Immediate Holding Companies: These companies own other companies but are also owned by another entity.
  4. Intermediate Holding Companies: These are subsidiaries of larger corporations and act as parent companies for other companies.

The Purpose of a Holding Company 

A holding company owns and controls various assets, such as real estate, stocks, or companies. It provides legal separation between these assets and the owners, reducing liability risk. 

Advantages of a Holding Company 

  1. Less investment, more control.
  2. Protection from legal liabilities.
  3. Continuity of managerial roles.
  4. Tax benefits.

Pros and Cons of Holding Companies 


  • Protection from losses incurred by subsidiaries.
  • Provision of cheaper operating capital to subsidiaries.
  • Exploitation of regional taxation laws.


  • Lack of transparency.
  • Potential exploitation of subsidiaries.
  • Forcing subsidiaries to appoint specific directors or change policies.

In conclusion, a holding company's purpose is to control other companies and make management decisions. It offers advantages like reduced liability and potential tax benefits. However, it can also have disadvantages such as lack of transparency and potential for abuse by the parent company.