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    Rhetoric, argument and impression management in hostile takeover defence documents
    This exploratory study extends the analysis of narrative disclosures from routine reporting contexts such as annual reports and press releases to non-routine takeover documents where the financial consequences of narrative disclosures can be substantial. Rhetoric and argument in the form of impression management techniques in narrative disclosures are examined. Prior thematic content analysis methods for analysing good and bad news disclosures are adapted to the attacking and defensive themes in the defence documents of target companies subject to hostile takeover bids. The paper examines the incidence, extent and implications of impression management in ten hostile takeover defence documents issued by target companies listed on the London Stock Exchange between 1 January 2006 and 30 June 2008. Three impression management strategies – thematic, visual and rhetorical manipulation – are investigated using content analysis methodologies. The findings of the research indicate that thematic, visual and rhetorical manipulation is evident in hostile takeover defence documents. Attacking and defensive sentences were found to comprise the majority of the defence documents analysed. Such sentences exhibited varying degrees of visual and rhetorical emphasis, which served to award greater or lesser degrees of prominence to the information conveyed by target company management. While exploratory in nature, this paper concludes with suggestions for future more systematic research allowing for greater generalisations from the findings.
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