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In law, liquidation refers to the process by which a company (or part of a company) is brought to an end, and the assets and property of the company redistributed. Liquidation can also be referred to as winding-up or dissolution, although dissolution technically refers to the last stage of liquidation.
Liquidation may either be compulsory (sometimes referred to as a creditors' liquidation) or voluntary (sometimes referred to as a shareholders' liquidation, although some voluntary liquidations are controlled by the creditors, see below).
In finance, liquidation is also sometimes used as convenient shorthand for converting an asset to cash.