con·​sol·​i·​da·​tion | \ kən-ˌsä-lə-ˈdā-shən \

Definition of consolidation

1 : the act or process of consolidating : the state of being consolidated
2 : the process of uniting : the quality or state of being united specifically : the unification of two or more corporations by dissolution of existing ones and creation of a single new corporation
3 : pathological alteration of lung tissue from an aerated condition to one of solid consistency
4 : the process by which a new memory is converted into a form that is stable and long-lasting Initially fragile memories can gain stability via consolidation, but the extent to which sleep contributes to this process is unresolved …— John D. Rudoy et al.

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Examples of consolidation in a Sentence

the consolidation of several intelligence agencies into one super agency

Recent Examples on the Web

Chronic skepticism and the cognitive DDoS will increase polarization, leading to a consolidation of trust in distinct sets of right and left-wing authority figures – thought oligarchs speaking to entirely separate groups. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A looming strike over Project Dragonfly is putting new pressure on Google," 30 Nov. 2018 Of the four options, the Trump Administration favors the third option: consolidation of all armed services space operations under a single service. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "'Space Force' May Be Hobbled Before Liftoff," 29 Nov. 2018 Consolidation of services and budget At the June 19 coucnil meeting, Fire Chief Adam Remington said consolidation had been considered in the past, however, most other departments in the area are also strained. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Franklin residents set to be surveyed about interest in spending more, via fall referendum, for emergency services," 3 July 2018 Oliver wanted to focus on China, not because Donald Trump has targeted the country in many speeches, but because of leader Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power. Melissa Locker, Time, "John Oliver Sends China a Message In This Catchy Song on Last Week Tonight," 18 June 2018 County attorney Ken Jarrard said lawmakers could work on a bill paving the way for a vote on consolidation or could simply authorize a study. Mark Woolsey, ajc, "Forsyth County considering city/county consolidation notion," 12 Jan. 2018 The past century saw the enterprise grow through a series of consolidations with other co-ops and acquisitions of competitors. Benjamin Romano, The Seattle Times, "Darigold aims to sell more than half of its dairy output abroad despite trade spat," 20 Aug. 2018 The $482 million purchase of Bank Mutual by Associated was the top bank deal announced in the state last year, and the acquisition, which ends Bank Mutual’s 126-year run, is part of an ongoing consolidation of the banking industry. Paul Gores, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bank Mutual set to switch to Associated Bank this weekend," 20 June 2018 Instead, the industry is entering a new phase of consolidation that will likely drive small and mid-size firms from the West Texas shale play. San Antonio Express-News, "Permian Basin gets cold shoulder," 19 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consolidation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of consolidation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

15 Feb 2019

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The first known use of consolidation was in the 15th century

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Financial Definition of consolidation

What It Is

In business, consolidation refers to the merger of several companies in a specific industry, which typically concentrates market share in the hands of a few large companies.

How It Works

Perhaps one of the most obvious examples of industry consolidation can be seen in the evolution of public accounting over the twenty years. In 1986, nine large accounting firms dominated the industry. But in 1987, Klynveld Main Goerdeler (KMG) merged with Peat Marwick Mitchell to create KPMG Peat Marwick, reducing the number of top-tier players to the "Big Eight." Then in 1989, Ernst & Whinney merged with Arthur Young, and Deloitte Haskins & Sells merged with Touche Ross, further consolidating the industry to the "Big Six." In 1998, the merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand created the "Big Five," and the dissolution of Arthur Andersen in 2002 left the "Big Four."

Another, more recent example can be found in the online brokerage business, where after several rounds of consolidation, three major competitors have emerged: E*Trade (following its acquisitions of BrownCo and HarrisDirect), Ameritrade (which recently won a bidding war for TD Waterhouse), and Charles Schwab.

Why It Matters

One of the driving forces behind consolidation is the operating efficiencies that often arise from mergers. Because the merged entities can merge existing operating structures and reduce any overlap, there is usually an opportunity to realize significant cost savings, as well as related revenue synergies. There are numerous other reasons which might cause a company to acquire a rival, like gaining an expanded geographic reach, a larger customer base, a broader product line, etc.

Like oligopolies, duopolies, cartels, and other environments in which a few companies control all or a significant portion of an industry, consolidations alter the balance of power in an industry. Investors should carefully consider the ramifications that merger and acquisition (M&A) activity might have on the competitive landscape.

Source: Investing Answers


con·​sol·​i·​da·​tion | \ kən-ˌsäl-ə-ˈdā-shən \

Medical Definition of consolidation

: the process by which an infected lung passes from an aerated collapsible condition to one of airless solid consistency through the accumulation of exudate in the alveoli and adjoining ducts pneumonic consolidation also : tissue that has undergone consolidation areas of consolidation

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