Holding companies are conglomerates that own other firms. Investorwords.com offers a more specific definition: "A company that owns enough voting stock in another firm to control management and operations by influencing or electing its board of directors. Also called parent company."
A good example is Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway
While many companies routinely gobble up other companies, they frequently aim to blend these acquisitions into their operations. Holding companies keep the businesses they buy more separate.
By the way, if you'd like to receive several promising stock ideas delivered via email each month, learn more about our suite of investment newsletters, which we offer along with some free research reports. The newsletters' performance may surprise you. You can also learn all about brokerages and find one that's right for you by visiting our Broker Center. (Did you know that some well-regarded brokerages are offering commissions as low as $5?)