UK Accounting Glossary
To divest is to liquidate, or sell off, one’s investment in a company or government body. Many people who divest do so for political or ethical reasons, such as perceived government oppression of a minority population. Other reasons to divest are anti-trust violations, poor performance, or changes in a company’s leadership. Individuals, businesses, and government bodies may divest their holdings. For example, many businesses started to divest from South Africa in the 1980s in protest of that nation’s apartheid policies. When a person or company chooses to divest, it may be taking a very large risk with its money. A business may also divest one of its divisions if it is not performing well or working within the business’s overall plan.
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This glossary post was last updated: 9th February 2020.