di·​ves·​ti·​ture | \dī-ˈves-tə-ˌchu̇r, -chər, də-, chiefly Southern -t(y)u̇(ə)r\

Definition of divestiture 

1 : the act of divesting

2 : the compulsory transfer of title or disposal of interests (such as stock in a corporation) upon government order

Examples of divestiture in a Sentence

Divestitures are used to break up monopolies. Before divestiture, the telephone company monopolized the state.

Recent Examples on the Web

Leon could either approve the deal, block the deal or approve it with major divestitures, such as spinning off DirecTV or Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN. Meg James, latimes.com, "A day of reckoning for AT&T, Time Warner Inc. — and the Justice Department," 12 June 2018 What’s most striking about his acquisitions and divestitures is their staggering quantity. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, "What the Hell Happened at GE?," 24 May 2018 The settlement came together after Justice Department antitrust officials pressed for significant divestitures to remedy the competition problems from combining the two companies. Fortune, "Bayer Wins U.S. Antitrust Approval for Its $66 Billion Takeover of Monsanto," 29 May 2018 Investors will be poised to find out if there are further impacts to the bank’s business from the tax overhaul and how the first quarter fared without other one-time impacts from divestitures or litigation. Emily Glazer, WSJ, "Five Things to Watch for in Wells Fargo’s Earnings," 12 Apr. 2018 The timing for review depends on the structure of the transaction presented, the timeliness of compliance by the parties, and the willingness of parties to address (through divestitures or otherwise) issues that raise competitive concerns. Claire Atkinson, NBC News, "The New York Times smells a rat," 2 July 2018 American Medical Association Urges Regulators To Block CVS-Aetna Deal » Analysts have said regulators may demand business divestitures before a CVS-Aetna deal is approved, but that ultimately the transaction would be approved. Stephen Singer, courant.com, "Report: Justice Department Will Not Challenge $69 Billion CVS-Aetna Deal," 12 July 2018 Financially struggling oilfield services firm Weatherford International finally has found a buyer to acquire its Middle East onshore drilling rig business for $287.5 million as part of its long-term divestiture plans. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Weatherford finally sells its Middle East land rig business," 12 July 2018 The largest divestiture this year is an $11 billion deal to sell its locomotive unit. Alexander Coolidge, Cincinnati.com, "GE breakup so far eludes Nelson Peltz. What does that mean for P&G?," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'divestiture.' 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 divestiture

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for divestiture

divest + -iture (as in investiture)

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Last Updated

22 Nov 2018

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The first known use of divestiture was in 1601

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More Definitions for divestiture



Financial Definition of divestiture

What It Is

A divestiture or divestment is the reduction of an asset or business through sale, liquidation, exchange, closure, or any other means for financial or ethical reasons. It is the opposite of investment.

How It Works

Let's assume Company XYZ is the parent of a food company, a car company, and a clothing company. If for some reason Company XYZ wants out of the car business, it might divest the business by selling it to another company, exchanging it for another asset, or closing down the car company.

Why It Matters

Optimists often look at divestitures as ways to streamline (i.e., "get back to basics"), reduce debt, and enhance shareholder value. Pessimists may view them as concessions that the divested assets were not performing well.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of divestiture

finance : the act of selling stock, property, etc., because of a government order


di·​ves·​ti·​ture | \dī-ˈves-ti-ˌchu̇r, də-, -chər \

Legal Definition of divestiture 

1 : the sale or transfer of title to a property (as an operating division) under court order (as in bankruptcy)

2 : the sale of an asset (as a business division) that is unprofitable, does not enhance a corporate restructuring, or is felt to be morally reprehensible

More from Merriam-Webster on divestiture

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with divestiture

Britannica English: Translation of divestiture for Arabic Speakers

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