What is Strategic Alliance?

Legal Definition
A strategic alliance (also see strategic partnership) is an agreement between two or more parties to pursue a set of agreed upon objectives needed while remaining independent organizations. A strategic alliance will usually fall short of a legal partnership entity, agency, or corporate affiliate relationship. Typically, two companies form a strategic alliance when each possesses one or more business assets or have expertise that will help the other by enhancing their businesses. Strategic alliances can develop in outsourcing relationships where the parties desire to achieve long-term win-win benefits and innovation based on mutually desired outcomes.

This form of cooperation lies between mergers and acquisitions and organic growth. Strategic alliances occurs when two or more organizations join together to pursue mutual benefits.

Partners may provide the strategic alliance with resources such as products, distribution channels, manufacturing capability, project funding, capital equipment, knowledge, expertise, or intellectual property. The alliance is a cooperation or collaboration which aims for a synergy where each partner hopes that the benefits from the alliance will be greater than those from individual efforts. The alliance often involves technology transfer (access to knowledge and expertise), economic specialization, shared expenses and shared risk.

Strategic alliances have emerged to solve many company business problems, and to spur collaboration and innovation. The book Vested: How P&G, McDonald’s and Microsoft are Redefining Winning in Business Relationships profiles strategic partnerships in large-scale business process outsourcing relationships, public-private infrastructure projects, facilities management and supply chain relationships. Contemporary strategic sourcing and procurement processes enable organizations to use Performance-Based or Vested sourcing business models for establishing strategic supplier relationships.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
Co-operative agreement between companies who work together towards a common objective.