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Stack Overflow (the owner of the Stack Exchange network) has been sold to Prosus.

Once the deal closes, does that means that "Stack Overflow" no longer exists as a company? Is the Stack Exchange network then just a product that Prosus now owns and operates, or does Stack Overflow/Stack Exchange still exist as a separate entity that Prosus simply entirely owns?

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    It depends on the specifics of the deal, have those been released?
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 21:37
  • @RonBeyer Sorry, but I can't understand what do you mean?
    – Ghost
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 21:42

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The analogy in the other answer isn't particularly helpful because a company isn't tangible property like a truck. It is a legal entity that has not only assets and liabilities such as tangible property (trucks, computers), intangible property (trademarks), and loans, but also owners (shareholders), a board of directors, and officers. In an acquisition, another company buys up all the stock of the entity being acquired. The acquired company may continue to exist as a subsidiary, in which case it continues to have its board and officers, or it may be dissolved, in which case its assets and liabilities would be transferred to its new parent (or to another subsidiary of the new parent).

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  • At the second the deal is executed, nothing changes but the owner - instead of share holders, or a private owner, the purchaser is now owner of the company. One second later, the purchaser can start making changes as far as the law allows.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 15:22
  • @gnasher729 that depends on how the transaction is structured. It could be a single transaction involving the transfer of different ways assets and liabilities to different entities simultaneously.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 18:16
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Is the Stack Exchange network then just a product that Prosus now owns and operates, or does Stack Overflow/Stack Exchange still exist as a separate entity that Prosus simply entirely owns?

Both options are possible. For an entity the size of Stack Overflow, the latter is more likely. For smaller, private companies, the former is more likely.

Let’s imagine I own a company and the company owns a truck and the truck was funded by an unsecured loan and the company owns, owes and does nothing else (a bit of an odd arrangement but it makes the concept easier to understand). You want the truck - it’s a really nice truck. You can:

  • buy my company including the truck and loan, or
  • buy the truck leaving the company with the cash you paid and the loan to pay off.

Now imagine instead of “truck” I said “business”.

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  • In this case, Stack Overflow, Inc. the company that owns the Stack Exchange network (and...also goes by Stack Exchange Inc.? the naming is confusing), appears to have been sold, not just the network. Would that mean it's the latter option for sure?
    – Ryan M
    Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 6:03
  • @RyanM not necessarily; see my answer.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 14:13

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