Conglomerate or Choice?: The Corporations and Subsidiaries Operating Multiple Ventures.

CONGLOMERATE OR CHOICEQuick schooling for this article:

Have you ever noticed that every now and then two companies appear to be under the exact same brand name, logo or group when it seems that they are entirely different? Such as how there are ten newspapers in your city that are all published under the same company? Or that your pen says it’s made by Mitsubishi? Wait, don’t they make cars? Couldn’t be the same company right?

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The word to use: Conglomerate. Con – glaw – mah – rit.

Conglomerates are usually made up of one big company and its many subsidiaries. Going from the Mitsubishi example you may be surprised to know that under a conglomerate setting – Nikon cameras are technically Mitsubishi cameras. Perhaps they are in disguise or perhaps, and more logically, they are funded/backed/owned/merged/whatever by the parent company. Referring to my earlier reference suggesting Mitsubishi pens; Uni-ball – one of the most common gel pen manufacturers – is actually Mitsubishi.

Another term related to this form of super-corporation is “multinational company” – maybe what is a supermarket in America called “super awesome market” may also be operating as practically the same thing in Britain but with the name “Happy’s supermarket”

You’ve probably seen the other Mitsubishi products like Air-conditioning units, televisions, cassette tapes and the list goes on.

A Conglomerate may not necessarily “own” what it lists as a subsidiary or ‘baby company’, but simply own part of it or have a share in its earnings. For instance; you may have heard that Microsoft ‘owns’ Facebook. This doesn’t mean Microsoft actually started the social networking giant or acquired it, but it does mean that it controls a major part of its operations. The more money, the more influence! If Microsoft owned 90% of Facebook then you’d guess they’d have 90% say in what the company does and doesn’t do. For the record though, we doubt Microsoft has much say in major Facebook implementations as they own just about 1.6% of the company.


One of the most well-known conglomerates would have to be “News Corporation” – often mentioned simply as “News Corp”. As well as being the parent of “News Limited”, a company which is often mistaken for being a media competitor, News Corp are often criticised for their mass monopoly. If you plan on arguing that the mainstream media is biased and that it often covers its own controversies up then you should have plenty of material and evidence to go on.


Berkshire Hathaway – owned by Warren Buffet – is a prime example of ‘giant-company-with-many-tentacles’ ventures. If they aren’t selling you insurance, they’re selling you clothes. Beneficial ownership’s include the likes of American Express, Coca-Cola Company (which in itself is – in some countries – is the parent of Pepsico who make Pepsi, Sunkist and 7up etc. How’s that for strange competition?) And even IBM.

About Author



As founder and editor-in-chief, Cask J. Thomson has exhausted his life as a graphics designer, political activist, freedom of speech advocate, anti-censorship promoter and a published author of several computer science books and a graphic novel. As well as running the publishing company linked to WordMean, Cask has several aspirations as a musician, producer and journalist. Thomson was born in the United Kingdom and currently resides between Sydney, Australia and Alicante, Spain.