Holding companies: a brief primer from Alphabet to Z

By Michelle Mancino Marsh and Margaret Wheeler-Frothingham

Multiple issues are affected by the decision of where to hold a business’s IP assets. As such, analysis of the legal, tax and business considerations is merely the starting point

In late 2015, Google announced the incorporation of Alphabet, Inc, a holding company specifically formed to own Google, Inc and various other subsidiaries which previously comprised the internet giant. This announcement pushed the concept of holding companies into the corporate spotlight. Small and medium-sized businesses may now be wondering what a holding company is, how it functions and what benefits it offers. In particular, another type of holding company – the IP holding company, which has the sole corporate purpose of owning IP assets – may be of interest to businesses which own and license IP assets. This article explores the benefits and pitfalls of various corporate structures for holding intellectual property.

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Issue 71