Understanding Corporate Families and Relationships

A company often comprises multiple divisions and subsidiaries. Taken together, these elements of a business are known as a corporate family. It can be useful for business owners to familiarize themselves with how vendors and customers fit into larger corporate families. The infographic below is intended to help decision makers understand the importance of getting to know the entire corporate family.

What Is a Corporate Family?

The term “corporate family” or “corporate hierarchies” refers to the headquarters, branches (divisions), and subsidiary companies that are part of a single business entity.

  • Headquarters: A business establishment that is financially responsible for branches or owns more than 50 percent capital stock in another company.
  • Parent: A company that owns more than 50 percent capital in another company (might also be categorized as the headquarters).
  • Branches: A corporation’s individual offices. Each location is part of the same company but may operate with varying degrees of independence.
  • Subsidiaries: Separate companies that are owned by a corporate parent. Subsidiary businesses may or may not be in the same industry.

What Can Business Owners Learn From Reviewing Corporate Families?

Understanding the relationships between your customers, vendors, and other business partners can reveal opportunities and risks. For example, you might be able to:

  • Cross-sell goods or services among different branches of a business.
  • Leverage your relationship with a client to win business from a sister company.
  • Improve supply-chain reliability by identifying multiple vendors owned by the same parent.
  • Anticipate financial risks that could affect an entire corporate family tree.
  • Discover compliance risks posed by members of the corporate family that you may not deal with directly.

How Can I Research Corporate Families?

As a leading business information company, Dun & Bradstreet maintains detailed records of the relationships among members of the same corporate family. Using Dun & Bradstreet tools, business owners can explore a company’s hierarchy within its family tree from the comfort of their computers.

Subscribers have access to more than four million corporate families and 14 million linked companies.

How Does Dun & Bradstreet Identify Corporate Family Relationships?

Business owners can rest assured that they’re receiving accurate, up-to-date information on corporate families. There are multiple tools and resources we use, including:

  • A Business’s Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S® Number: This unique identifier never changes and helps establish corporate linkage.
  • SEC Filings: Dun & Bradstreet combs public filings to understand mergers, acquisitions, and other business transactions.
  • Company Websites: Data on corporate family relationships can be collected from a business’s website.
  • Direct Contact: Dun & Bradstreet speaks with company contacts to understand their corporate families.

Where Can I Learn More About Corporate Families and Relationships?

Contact a Dun & Bradstreet representative at 1-800-701-7168.

Photo Credit: crystalmariesing, Twenty20