From the Editor.

A lot of public company mergers in recent years have undoubtedly left investors shaking their heads and wishing the deals simply hadn't been done. Investors are a critical constituency in ensuring a successful merger; without their buy-in, support for the stock can erode quickly, putting the newly combined company behind the eight ball.

Mark Sirower, who heads the M&A practice for The Boston Consulting Group, and Steven Lipin, a former journalist who is now a senior partner at the Brunswick Group, make a case for treating communications as a foremost item during the merger process. "Communications strategy," they write, "can make the difference between success and failure on everything from securing shareholder approval to meshing the cultures of two distinct organizations."

Another article in the investor relations area addresses overseas investor support. Consultant Donna LaVoie says that companies should assess the need, and the likelihood, of bringing in international investors; then, if they do go after them, craft a strategy to maximize exposure to the company's message. She examines the case of LION, a German biopharmeutical firm, and its efforts to attract American investors.

How does working in Moscow sound? Daunting, perhaps, given the popular images that filter back to the U.S. of bribery, intimidation and thugs armed with the latest cellular technology. But Bruce Misamore, who took a job two years ago as CFO of a huge Russian oil company, begs to differ. His highly positive view of Russia may surprise some readers.

On the subject of regulation, two executives from The Johnsson Group examine Sarbanes-Oxley and related regulation from a key perspective: the cost of compliance. They argue that many companies, in their...

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