A joint venture, in contrast, is when two otherwise independent companies or entrepreneurs join forces in order to cooperate on a common project or in providing a specific service. In many cases, a new firm or organization is actually created, and both of the independent founders have a stake in this joint company. All revenue which is not re-invested into the firm is then divided between the founders. A good example of a joint venture is Verizon Wireless. In this case, Verizon teamed up with Vodafone to provide a mobile communication service.
An acquisition is simply when a more dominant company purchases a smaller firm, which also happens to be a competitor. By removing a key competitor from the market, the larger company increases its dominance. For instance, in October 2008 Delta Air Lines bought Northwest Airlines, and as such, it will eventually phase out the latter's independent brand name.