What does the word "consolidated" mean on financial statements? Major corporations (and many minor ones) typically have various subsidiaries and lines of business. Some companies, known as "holding companies," own the securities of other firms or entire other companies. (A classic example of a holding company is Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, which owns GEICO, See's Candies, and Dairy Queen, among others.) When a company reports "consolidated" numbers, it has simply combined the results from all its various operations into one report.

To see an example of a consolidated financial statement, click over to this Berkshire Hathaway sample earnings report (link opens .pdf), where the company presents its consolidated financials. First up are the overall consolidated numbers, followed by some broken-out subsidiaries' numbers. You'll likely find more consolidated results from operationally broad-ranging firms such as Johnson & Johnson, Fortune Brands, and Pfizer.

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