Eight things PR pros need to know on Thursday morning, 3.26.2015

Groupe Bollore sells larger-than-expected share of Havas Group; Experts warn of cost-cutting after Heinz-Kraft deal; Twitter releases Meerkat rival Periscope.

1. French conglomerate Groupe Bollore has sold a $655 million stake in Havas Group. The sale of the 22.5% share in the company was more than the 17% expected. Havas leader Yannick Bollore is the son of Groupe Bollore chief Vincent Bollore.

2. Audio recordings from the doomed Germanwings flight that crashed in southern France on Tuesday show that one pilot was locked out of the cockpit at the time the plane began descending and struggled to get back in. "You can hear he is trying to smash the door down," one investigator told The New York Times. Germanwings parent Lufthansa is working with Burson-Marsteller on its crisis response. Update: A French prosecutor investigating the crash said Thursday morning that it appears one co-pilot destroyed the plane intentionally.


3. Experts have warned that major cost cutting could take place as a result of the Heinz-Kraft deal announced Tuesday morning if it follows the path of other 3G Capital Partners business moves. Gabelli Funds portfolio manager Kevin Dreyer told Reuters that 3G is "the most aggressive in the industry in terms of running businesses on a very lean basis and maximizing margins and cash flow."

4. Twitter has released Periscope, its live-streaming application and rival to Meerkat, which was widely considered the toast of South by Southwest Interactive this year. BuzzFeed called it "gorgeous" and "fast" but pondered if it can catch up to Meerkat. Facebook also said Tuesday that it will open Messenger to outside developers.


5. One former Oklahoma University student caught on tape leading a racist chant apologized to black leaders on Wednesday in Oklahoma City. It was Levi Pettit’s first public statement on the incident.

6. Lyft will add profiles for both drivers and riders on Thursday in an effort to make the ride-hailing experience more personalized. The information included is more conversational than personal, including hometowns and musical tastes. It will also allow riders and drivers to see if they have mutual friends on Facebook.


7. American Apparel reported a wide loss in the fourth quarter on Wednesday, and also said the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into issues that were disclosed when the retailer investigated and ultimately fired former CEO Dov Charney.

8. Bowe Bergdahl, the US soldier held in captivity by the Taliban for five years, was charged with desertion and misbehaving before the enemy on Wednesday. The Obama administration defended the decision to trade five Taliban leaders for Bergdahl last year, with new White House communications director Jen Psaki saying it was "absolutely" worth it.  

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