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A company that owns enough stock in another country to strongly influence or control outright the latter's operations, especially the election of its board of directors. Parent companies sometimes have operations of their own, and sometimes have no other business except to own and manage subsidiaries. These are known as holding companies. Some parent companies own subsidiaries in a single industry, while others are diversified. Parent companies become parent companies either by buying smaller companies, or by spinning off some of its operations into a separate company. See also: Mergers & Acquisitions.