1. Packaging company Sealed Air has wrapped up its global communications duties under Weber Shandwick, assigning the agency its global AOR account across disciplines. It previously worked with about 50 firms around the world on communications.
2. Alibaba Group plans to reach out to US businesses this year, promoting itself as a unique way to reach China’s growing middle class. Alipay, a Chinese electronic payments system that Alibaba owns, is a key part of the strategy. Alibaba maintains about $300 billion in global sales.
3. Get Covered Illinois is helping brokerages, often the public’s first contact on health insurance, get up-to-date on informing consumers about the Affordable Care Act, including paying for some co-branded materials. The state insurance exchange, which helps people get plans through the healthcare-reform law, gave FleishmanHillard a contract extension worth nearly $26 million last August.
4. Condoleezza Rice detailed two ways George W. Bush’s administration tried to convince The New York Times not to run a sensitive story about intelligence operations targeting Iran’s nuclear weapons program while testifying in the CIA leak trial this week. One, a White House could try to convince a publisher that a story is correct but too dangerous to run, or, on the other hand, just say the reporter had his facts wrong entirely.
5. About one-quarter of the staff at McBee Strategic has left the firm since its founder said in November that he was leaving for NRG Energy, a New Jersey-based power company, according to The Washington Post. Law firm Wiley Rein acquired McBee last month.
6. Republican activists are shrugging their shoulders at the prospect of a third Romney campaign for the White House. Meanwhile, media magnate Rupert Murdoch said this week that the former Massachusetts governor was a "terrible candidate" three years ago.
7. Some good news for global PR pros. PRWeek is extending the deadline to apply for the PRWeek Global Awards to Friday, January 23, or one week from today.