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Avow or Avoid?: The Public Communication Strategies of Enron and WorldCom
Unformatted Document Text:  Avow or Avoid? 11 supplement short-term liquidity and to refinance maturing obligations” (Enron has market, Nov. 5, 2001, para. 3). It also took what had appeared to be a public relations tactic, creating a special committee to investigate, and turned it into a legal tactic, saying Enron had set up the committee “to defend itself in the probe” (Enron has market, Nov. 5, 2001, para. 23). Merger talks (restructuring) By November 8, 2001, Enron was able to give investors some positive news. It was in discussions with Dynegy, a smaller competitor, about the possibility of “a possible business combination transaction” (Enron confirms, Nov. 8, 2001, para. 1). The following day, in a joint release, Enron and Dynegy announced they had reached a merger agreement (Dynegy and Enron, Nov. 9, 2001). Enron also announced that it would restate earnings for 1997 through 2001 and outlined its restructuring plan. The releases again reveal a mix of public relations and legal tactics. On the one hand, Enron appeared open, transparent, and cooperative. The company provided the SEC with additional information that “addresses a number of the concerns that have been raised by our shareholders and the SEC about these matters” (Enron provides additional, Nov. 8, 2001, para. 3). The joint release confirmed that Dynegy was supportive of Enron. “We believe Enron has begun to address these issues in a responsible manner and that they will not detract from the value of Enron’s core business” (Dynegy and Enron, Nov. 9, 2001, para. 11). The members of the special committee were “continuing to review the transactions in question and are making progress with our investigation” (Enron files, Nov. 19, 2001, para. 3). A second special board committee, the Special Litigation Committee, was established to evaluate claims in shareholder lawsuits. Another board member was added to chair the committee and provide “independent insight” (Enron appoints Raymond Troubh, Nov. 28, 2001, para. 3). The company also was in “continuous contact with our banks” (Enron announces progress, Nov. 21, 2001, para. 3).

Authors: Reber, Bryan. and Gower, Karla.
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Avow or Avoid?
11
supplement short-term liquidity and to refinance maturing obligations” (Enron has market, Nov.
5, 2001, para. 3). It also took what had appeared to be a public relations tactic, creating a special
committee to investigate, and turned it into a legal tactic, saying Enron had set up the committee
“to defend itself in the probe” (Enron has market, Nov. 5, 2001, para. 23).
Merger talks (restructuring)
By November 8, 2001, Enron was able to give investors some positive news. It was in
discussions with Dynegy, a smaller competitor, about the possibility of “a possible business
combination transaction” (Enron confirms, Nov. 8, 2001, para. 1). The following day, in a joint
release, Enron and Dynegy announced they had reached a merger agreement (Dynegy and Enron,
Nov. 9, 2001). Enron also announced that it would restate earnings for 1997 through 2001 and
outlined its restructuring plan.
The releases again reveal a mix of public relations and legal tactics. On the one hand,
Enron appeared open, transparent, and cooperative. The company provided the SEC with
additional information that “addresses a number of the concerns that have been raised by our
shareholders and the SEC about these matters” (Enron provides additional, Nov. 8, 2001, para.
3). The joint release confirmed that Dynegy was supportive of Enron. “We believe Enron has
begun to address these issues in a responsible manner and that they will not detract from the
value of Enron’s core business” (Dynegy and Enron, Nov. 9, 2001, para. 11). The members of
the special committee were “continuing to review the transactions in question and are making
progress with our investigation” (Enron files, Nov. 19, 2001, para. 3). A second special board
committee, the Special Litigation Committee, was established to evaluate claims in shareholder
lawsuits. Another board member was added to chair the committee and provide “independent
insight” (Enron appoints Raymond Troubh, Nov. 28, 2001, para. 3). The company also was in
“continuous contact with our banks” (Enron announces progress, Nov. 21, 2001, para. 3).


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