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, 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.
● Yahoo said it recently identified an effort to break into Yahoo Mail e-mail accounts. The list of user names and passwords used in the attack was probably taken from a third-party database, Yahoo said. The company acted immediately to protect users by prompting holders of affected accounts to reset their passwords and said it was working with federal law enforcement agencies to find out who was responsible.
● Amazon.com reported fourth-quarter earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates after a surge in costs to ship gifts over the holidays. Net income more than doubled, to $239 million, or 51 cents a share, the Seattle-based company said. Analysts on average had projected profit of 69 cents a share. Revenue climbed 20 percent, to $25.6 billion, trailing estimates of $26.1 billion. The holiday season brought some road bumps. Amazon and other retailers issued rebates after United Parcel Service and FedEx, overwhelmed by demand, were late in delivering some packages to customers.
● Google’s fourth-quarter earnings rose 17 percent even though a long-running slump in its online ad prices deepened. Google’s average ad price during the fourth quarter fell 11 percent from the previous year. That was the steepest quarterly drop this year and marked the ninth consecutive quarter that Google’s average ad rate, also known as “cost per click,” has fallen from the previous year. Google earned $3.4 billion in the October-
December period. That compares with $2.9 billion a year earlier. Revenue rose 17 percent, to $16.9 billion.
● Fred & Friends is recalling 200,000 pacifiers because of the risk that a baby using one could choke, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said young children should stop using the pacifiers immediately. No injuries have been reported.
● President Obama intends to nominate Norman Bay, enforcement director of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, to be the agency’s chairman, a White House statement said. Bay, a former U.S. attorney from New Mexico, would join the five-member agency as a commissioner and succeed Cheryl LaFleur, the acting chairman who is also a FERC commissioner.
— From news services
● 8:30 a.m.: Personal income and spending data for December released.
● Earnings: Booz Allen Hamilton, Chevron, MasterCard, Mattel.