Six things PR pros need to know on Wednesday morning, 3.25.2015

Kraft, Heinz in food mega-merger; Facebook reminds users what happened On This Day; Google's lobbying under the microscope.

1. Kraft Foods Group and HJ Heinz have agreed to merge in a deal that will create the third-largest food-maker in North America and the fifth-largest in the world. Brands under its umbrella will include Heinz, Kraft, Ore-Ida, Philadelphia, and Oscar Mayer.

Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital, which co-owns Heinz with Warren Buffett, is set to take majority ownership of Kraft in a deal topping $40 billion. The acquisition also comes as food companies are struggling to adapt to younger consumers’ preferences for organic and healthier ingredients.

"This is my kind of transaction, uniting two world-class organizations and delivering shareholder value," Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO, said in a statement. "I’m excited by the opportunities for what this new combined organization will achieve."

2. Facebook began rolling out On This Day on Tuesday, essentially a reminder service for birthdays, anniversaries, and other major life events cataloged on the social network. The company has reportedly been testing the service for several years.

3. Google representatives have logged nearly one visit a week to the White House since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, according to visitor logs read by The Wall Street Journal. Only Comcast spends more money on lobbying than Google, according to Business Insider.

4. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a study on distracted driving on Wednesday that includes PSA-like videos of teen drivers using their smartphones in the moments before accidents. The study found that distraction was the cause for about 60% of moderate and severe crashes.

5. Investigators are continuing to look into the Germanwings crash in France that killed 150 people on Tuesday. Terrorism has been called unlikely. Some employees of the airline are refusing to fly, forcing the discount carrier to cancel flights on Wednesday.

6. One of the former Oklahoma University students caught on video performing racist chants is set to speak publicly about the incident for the first time on Wednesday. Twenty-year-old Levi Pettit will speak at Fairview Missionary Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. 

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