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Why CEOs Surround M&A Announcements with Unrelated Good NewsND

Harvard Business Review, Friday 30th August, 2019

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) are often received negatively by the market. It’s for this reason that CEOs communicate differently to manage the impressions of the firm and its strategy after the decision is made. In new research, HBR examined ‘impression offsetting’, an impression management tactic in which firms publish unrelated positive news alongside strategic announcements. Research by the Academy of Management shows that firms anticipate negative reactions from the market when an M&A announcement is made and impression offsetting is used to reduce backlash. In the HBR’s study, they found that impression offsetting is an indicator of low CEO confidence. The research is an example of the strategic importance of external communications, and highlights that in addition to content, communication timing matters.

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