A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity made up of an association of people, be they natural, legal, or a mixture of both, for carrying on a commercial or industrial enterprise. Company members share a common purpose, and unite to focus their various talents and organize their collectively available skills or resources to achieve specific, declared goals. Companies take various forms, such as:
A company or association of persons can be created at law as a legal person so that the company in itself can accept limited liability for civil responsibility and taxation incurred as members perform (or fail to discharge) their duty within the publicly declared "birth certificate" or published policy.
Companies as legal persons may associate and register themselves collectively as other companies – often known as a corporate group. When a company closes, it may need a "death certificate" to avoid further legal obligations.
One can define a company as an "artificial person", invisible, intangible, created by or under law, with a discrete legal personality, perpetual succession, and a common seal. Companies remain unaffected by the death, insanity, or insolvency of an individual member.
The English word company has its origins in the Old French term compagnie (first recorded in 1150), meaning a "society, friendship, intimacy; body of soldiers", which came from the Late Latin word companio ("one who eats bread with you"), first attested in the Lex Salica (c. 500 CE) as a calque of the Germanic expression gahlaibo (literally, "with bread"), related to Old High German galeipo ("companion") and to Gothic gahlaiba ("messmate").
In English law and in legal jurisdictions based upon it, a company is a body corporate or corporation company registered under the Companies Acts or under similar legislation. Common forms include:
In the United States, a company may be a "corporation, partnership, association, joint-stock company, trust, fund, or organized group of persons, whether incorporated or not, and (in an official capacity) any receiver, trustee in bankruptcy, or similar official, or liquidating agent, for any of the foregoing". In the US, a company is not necessarily a corporation.
See also types of business
Less common types of companies are:
In the legal context, the owners of a company are normally referred to as the "members". In a company limited or unlimited by shares (formed or incorporated with a share capital), this will be the shareholders. In a company limited by guarantee, this will be the guarantors. Some offshore jurisdictions have created special forms of offshore company in a bid to attract business for their jurisdictions. Examples include "segregated portfolio companies" and restricted purpose companies.
There are, however, many, many sub-categories of types of company that can be formed in various jurisdictions in the world.
Companies are also sometimes distinguished for legal and regulatory purposes between public companies and private companies. Public companies are companies whose shares can be publicly traded, often (although not always) on a stock exchange which imposes listing requirements/Listing Rules as to the issued shares, the trading of shares and future issue of shares to help bolster the reputation of the exchange or particular market of an exchange. Private companies do not have publicly traded shares, and often contain restrictions on transfers of shares. In some jurisdictions, private companies have maximum numbers of shareholders.
A parent company is a company that owns enough voting stock in another firm to control management and operations by influencing or electing its board of directors; the second company being deemed as a subsidiary of the parent company. The definition of a parent company differs by jurisdiction, with the definition normally being defined by way of laws dealing with companies in that jurisdiction.
Perhaps the best definition of a corporation was given by Chief Justice John Marshall in a famous Supreme Court decision in 1819. A corporation, he said, 'is an artificial person, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of the law.' In other words, a corporation [...] is an artificial person, created by law, with most of the legal rights of a real person.
2. A corporation, partnership, association, joint-stock company, trust, fund, or organized group of persons, whether incorporated or not, and (in an official capacity) any receiver, trustee in bankruptcy, or similar official, or liquidating agent, for any of the foregoing. Investment Company Act 2(a)(8)(15 USCA 80a-2(a)(8)).
company [:] any formal business entity for profit which may be a corporation, a partnership, association or individual proprietorship. Often people think the term "company" means the business is incorporated, but that is not true. In fact, a corporation usually must use some term in its name such as "corporation," "incorporated," "corp." or "inc." to show it is a corporation.
The Boeing Company () is an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, rotorcraft, rockets, satellites, and missiles worldwide. The company also provides leasing and product support services. Boeing is among the largest global aircraft manufacturers; it is the fifth-largest defense contractor in the world based on 2017 revenue, and is the largest exporter in the United States by dollar value. Boeing stock is included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Boeing was founded by William Boeing on July 15, 1916, in Seattle, Washington. The present corporation is the result of the merger of Boeing with McDonnell Douglas on August 1, 1997. Former Boeing's chair and CEO Philip M. Condit continued as the chair and CEO of the new Boeing, while Harry Stonecipher, former CEO of McDonnell Douglas, became the president and chief operating officer of the newly merged company.The Boeing Company has its corporate headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. The company is led by President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg. Boeing is organized into five primary divisions: Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA); Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS); Engineering, Operations & Technology; Boeing Capital; and Boeing Shared Services Group. In 2017, Boeing recorded $93.3 billion in sales, ranked 24th on the Fortune magazine "Fortune 500" list (2018), ranked 64th on the "Fortune Global 500" list (2018), and ranked 19th on the "World's Most Admired Companies" list (2018).East India Company
The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC) or the British East India Company and informally as John Company, Company Bahadur, or simply The Company, was an English and later British joint-stock company. It was formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with Mughal India and the East Indies (Maritime Southeast Asia), and later with Qing China. The company ended up seizing control over large parts of the Indian subcontinent, colonised parts of Southeast Asia, and colonised Hong Kong after a war with Qing China.
Originally chartered as the "Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies", the company rose to account for half of the world's trade, particularly in basic commodities including cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, spices, saltpetre, tea, and opium. The company also ruled the beginnings of the British Empire in India. In his speech to the House of Commons in July 1833, Lord Macaulay explained that since the beginning, the East India company had always been involved in both trade and politics, just as its French and Dutch counterparts had been.The company received a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600, coming relatively late to trade in the Indies. Before them the Portuguese Estado da Índia had traded there for much of the 16th century and the first of half a dozen Dutch Companies sailed to trade there from 1595. These Dutch companies amalgamated in March 1602 into the United East Indies Company (VOC), which introduced the first permanent joint stock from 1612 (meaning investment into shares did not need to be returned, but could be traded on a stock exchange). By contrast, wealthy merchants and aristocrats owned the EIC's shares. Initially the government owned no shares and had only indirect control until 1657 when permanent joint stock was established.During its first century of operation, the focus of the company was trade, not the building of an empire in India. Company interests turned from trade to territory during the 18th century as the Mughal Empire declined in power and the East India Company struggled with its French counterpart, the French East India Company (Compagnie française des Indes orientales) during the Carnatic Wars of the 1740s and 1750s. The battles of Plassey and Buxar, in which the British defeated the Bengali powers, left the company in control of Bengal and a major military and political power in India. In the following decades it gradually increased the extent of the territories under its control, controlling the majority of the Indian subcontinent either directly or indirectly via local puppet rulers under the threat of force by its Presidency armies, much of which were composed of native Indian sepoys.
By 1803, at the height of its rule in India, the British East India company had a private army of about 260,000—twice the size of the British Army, with Indian revenues of £13,464,561 (£1,359,675,850.80 as of 2018), and expenses of £14,017,473 (£1,415,509,909.85 as of 2018). The company eventually came to rule large areas of India with its private armies, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions. Company rule in India effectively began in 1757 and lasted until 1858, when, following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Government of India Act 1858 led to the British Crown's assuming direct control of the Indian subcontinent in the form of the new British Raj.
Despite frequent government intervention, the company had recurring problems with its finances. It was dissolved in 1874 as a result of the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act passed one year earlier, as the Government of India Act had by then rendered it vestigial, powerless, and obsolete. The official government machinery of British India assumed the East India Company's governmental functions and absorbed its navy and its armies in 1858.Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker that has its main headquarter in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. It was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. The company sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand and most luxury cars under the Lincoln brand. Ford also owns Brazilian SUV manufacturer Troller, an 8% stake in Aston Martin of the United Kingdom and a 32% stake in Jiangling Motors. It also has joint-ventures in China (Changan Ford), Taiwan (Ford Lio Ho), Thailand (AutoAlliance Thailand), Turkey (Ford Otosan), and Russia (Ford Sollers). The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is controlled by the Ford family; they have minority ownership but the majority of the voting power.Ford introduced methods for large-scale manufacturing of cars and large-scale management of an industrial workforce using elaborately engineered manufacturing sequences typified by moving assembly lines; by 1914, these methods were known around the world as Fordism. Ford's former UK subsidiaries Jaguar and Land Rover, acquired in 1989 and 2000 respectively, were sold to Tata Motors in March 2008. Ford owned the Swedish automaker Volvo from 1999 to 2010. In 2011, Ford discontinued the Mercury brand, under which it had marketed entry-level luxury cars in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East since 1938.
Ford is the second-largest U.S.-based automaker (behind General Motors) and the fifth-largest in the world (behind Toyota, VW, Hyundai-Kia and General Motors) based on 2015 vehicle production. At the end of 2010, Ford was the fifth largest automaker in Europe. The company went public in 1956 but the Ford family, through special Class B shares, still retain 40 percent voting rights. During the financial crisis at the beginning of the 21st century, it was close to bankruptcy, but it has since returned to profitability. Ford was the eleventh-ranked overall American-based company in the 2018 Fortune 500 list, based on global revenues in 2017 of $156.7 billion. In 2008, Ford produced 5.532 million automobiles and employed about 213,000 employees at around 90 plants and facilities worldwide.General Electric
General Electric Company (GE) is an American multinational conglomerate incorporated in New York and headquartered in Boston. As of 2018, the company operates through the following segments: aviation, healthcare, power, renewable energy, digital industry, additive manufacturing, venture capital and finance, lighting, and oil and gas.In 2018, GE ranked among the Fortune 500 as the 18th-largest firm in the U.S. by gross revenue. In 2011, GE ranked among the Fortune 20 as the 14th-most profitable company but has since very severely underperformed the market (by about 75%) as its profitability collapsed. Two employees of GE—Irving Langmuir (1932) and Ivar Giaever (1973)—have been awarded the Nobel Prize.List of legal entity types by country
A business entity is an entity that is formed and administered as per corporate law in order to engage in business activities, charitable work, or other activities allowable. Most often, business entities are formed to sell a product or a service. There are many types of business entities defined in the legal systems of various countries. These include corporations, cooperatives, partnerships, sole traders, limited liability companies and other specifically permitted and labelled types of entities. The specific rules vary by country and by state or province. Some of these types are listed below, by country. For guidance, approximate equivalents in the company law of English-speaking countries are given in most cases, for example:
Ltd. (UK, Ireland and the Commonwealth)
public limited company (UK, Ireland and the Commonwealth)
one man company (sole proprietorship)
charitable incorporated organisation (UK)
non-governmental organizationHowever, the regulations governing particular types of entities, even those described as roughly equivalent, differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. When creating or restructuring a business, the legal responsibilities will depend on the type of business entity chosen.Nintendo
Nintendo Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics and video game company headquartered in Kyoto. Nintendo is one of the world's largest video game companies by market capitalization, creating some of the best-known and top-selling video game franchises, such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon.
Founded on 23 September 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it originally produced handmade hanafuda playing cards. By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as cab services and love hotels. Abandoning previous ventures in favor of toys in the 1960s, Nintendo developed into a video game company in the 1970s, ultimately becoming one of the most influential in the industry and one of Japan's most-valuable companies with a market value of over $37 billion in 2018.Subsidiary
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 some cases, particularly in the music and book publishing industries, subsidiaries are referred to as imprints.
In the United States railroad industry, an operating subsidiary is 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 of the parent company.
Subsidiaries are a common feature of business life, and most multinational corporations organize their operations in this way. Examples include holding companies such as Berkshire Hathaway, Jefferies Financial Group, WarnerMedia, 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.The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Walt Disney or simply Disney (), (common metonym: Mouse, also Mouse House) is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California.
Disney was originally founded on October 16, 1923 by brothers Walt and Roy O. Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio; it also operated under the names The Walt Disney Studio and Walt Disney Productions before officially changing its name to The Walt Disney Company in 1986. The company established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into live-action film production, television, and theme parks.
Since the 1980s, Disney has created and acquired corporate divisions in order to market more mature content than is typically associated with its flagship family-oriented brands. The company is known for its film studio division, Walt Disney Studios, which includes Walt Disney Pictures, Disneynature, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, and Blue Sky Studios. Disney's other main divisions are Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Disney Media Networks, and Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International. Disney also owns and operates the ABC broadcast network; cable television networks such as Disney Channel, ESPN, Freeform, FX, National Geographic network, and A&E Networks; publishing, merchandising, music, and theater divisions; and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, a group of 14 theme parks around the world.The company has been a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 1991. Cartoon character Mickey Mouse, created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, is one of the world's most recognizable characters, and serves as the company's official mascot.