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By Revenge of the Sith, the fate of the Trade Federation is described as:

With Nute Gunray's death in 19 BBY at the hands of former Jedi Anakin Skywalker, now Darth Vader, the Trade Federation fell. Acting Viceroy Sentepeth Findos who was on Cato Neimoidia resisted for a brief moment but was forced by Stormtroopers to sign a peace treaty with the Empire only a few days after the Clone Wars ended, giving all of the Federation's resources to Palpatine's disposal to help him build the Galactic Empire but there was still some resistance. This had made the federation a puppet government of the Imperial Senate.

Emphasis mine. But the federation is described as:

The Trade Federation was a very powerful Republic commerce guild, trade cartel, megacorporation, and lobbying group that was founded in 350 BBY as an association of business and trade groups with its own commercial trade fleet.

The Federation grew to dominate entire star systems and all major trade routes, and possessed a formidable private military.

Which seems to make it many things, but not really a government. Yes they rule. They even have viceroys, so they clearly have local administrations setup. It just seems unlikely that a megacorporation would be so tied so a single ruler that one viceroy could lead to the dismantling of the whole thing by signing a piece of paper. It would be like assuming Steve Jobs could hand Apple over to the state of California with just his John Hancock. It might behave like a government in many ways, but it is a private institution with what sounds like a large number of stakeholders.

Do the novels or any other in-canon references provide greater detail to this? Some unmentioned manipulation by Palpatine perhaps?

  • For all practical purposes, the Trade Federation already was a puppet government of Darth Sidious. The fact that Palpatine converted his allegiance formally was just that, a formality. – The Fallen Mar 13 '14 at 3:38
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    Also of note is the quote in the wookiepedia article you linked, by Padme from the Ep. I novel: The Trade Federation cannot function without its head. Neimoidians don't think for themselves. Without the Viceroy to command them, they will cease to be a threat. – The Fallen Mar 13 '14 at 3:42
  • Is it though? Yes, they are effectively the economic and military arm of The Separatists and follow Sidious. At the same time, they're clearly self-serving. They aren't doing this for a cause, they're doing it for cheaper trade routes. – joshbirk Mar 13 '14 at 3:44
  • Padme's quote might be the right clue, but I don't know if it is enough detail to be an answer on its own right. But definitely sounds like the right direction. – joshbirk Mar 13 '14 at 3:44
  • @SSumner - oh god please don't tell me that some EU work has needlessly interpreted that as the Neimoidians having some kind of hive-mind... – user8719 Mar 13 '14 at 9:49
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It is likely the Trade Federation was not bought out or given away, it was nationalised.

A relevant historical example is the British East India Company. It was a private company controlled by its investors; it ruled large territories and commanded its own military forces. However, it was not a sovereign government in its own right and ultimately it had to answer to the British Parliament. In 1858, Parliament decided to take over the company. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_India_Act_1858 :

The Government of India Act 1858 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (21 & 22 Vict. c. 106) passed on August 2, 1858. Its provisions called for the liquidation of the British East India Company (who had up to this point been ruling British India under the auspices of Parliament) and the transference of its functions to the British Crown. Lord Palmerston, then-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, introduced a bill for the transfer of control of the Government of India from the East India Company to the Crown, referring to the grave defects in the existing system of the government of India.

We don't know for certain, but the relation of the Trade Federation and the Galactic Senate might have been similar to that of the East India Company and Parliament. Suppose the Emperor commanded the Senate to revoke the TF's charter. The law would then leave the Acting Viceroy no choice but to submit. At best, he might have been able to negotiate for slightly better terms on behalf of the TF's investors.

The TF's only alternative was to continue armed rebellion against the Empire. Not only the TF Viceroy but Dooku, Grievous, and most of the other rebel leaders were dead; Darth Sidious was no longer in contact with them (because he had become the Emperor, but the TF didn't know that); and it seems the Empire had the upper hand in military terms. So it is plausible the TF decided to submit to nationalisation.


Edit: The above describes the legal situation from the point of view of the Empire. We don't know anything about the Trade Federation's internal politics, or whether the Acting Viceroy technically had the authority to surrender. The Wookieepedia article mentions:

there was still some resistance. [...] Some of the insurgents were absorbed into the Rebel Alliance in 2 BBY.

So it would seem that some elements of the TF rejected the surrender and continued to fight the Empire. But given the military and political situation, I think we can assume most of the TF gave in willingly enough.

  • ...and didn't Anakin also turn the droids off while on Mustafar, too? So, allow the clones to gain an even bigger advantage, probably capture some really important targets... The Trade Federation probably didn't survive the aftermath, and Palpatine probably didn't even have to suggest it. – Clockwork-Muse Mar 13 '14 at 12:47
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The essential guide of warfare and star wars insiders 84 mentions custom vizier marath vooro on enarc refusing findo's surrender and continue to fight. he takes over remaining trade defence forces and fights a major against octavian grant at farstine and is captured at the hook nebula.

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