District PR firms announce merger

District-based Prism Public Affairs is merging with D.C.-and-Boston-based Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications to form a 55-person public affairs outfit, the firms said Thursday.

The move is the latest in an ongoing consolidation effort in the communications and public relations industry.

The firm will be called Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, with a combined revenue of $15 million, which makes it one of the top 25 independent public relations firms in the United States.

Before the merger, Rasky Baerlein had 38 professionals and Prism had 17 firmwide.

The combination will boost Rasky Baerlein’s presence in Washington to 25 people from nine.

— Catherine Ho

Exxon Mobil’s quarterly profit falls

Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company by market value, posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit Thursday as it failed to offset declining production and spent heavily to find fresh reserves.

Exxon’s oil and natural gas production dropped 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the same period a year ago.

The company spent $42.5 billion this year on exploration and other capital projects, a staggering sum that led chief executive Rex Tillerson to admit last year: “I never would have dreamed we’d be spending at this level.”

For the fourth quarter, Exxon posted net income of $8.35 billion, or $1.91 per share, compared with $9.95 billion, or $2.20 per share, in same period a year ago. Analysts expected earnings of $1.92 per share. Revenue fell 3.3 percent, to $110.86 billion, below the $114.51 billion that analysts expected.

— Reuters

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