The 9 things PR pros need to know on Wednesday morning, 9.23.2015

Edelman buys Smithfield; Marino launches global alliance; Yogi Berra dead at 90; Volkswagen CEO grilled by board members; Starbucks: still work to do on workplace improvement; Instagram hits milestone.

"Yogi2" by Original uploader was Googie man at en.wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
"Yogi2" by Original uploader was Googie man at en.wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Deal Wednesday
Edelman has acquired London-based financial consultancy Smithfield Consultants. Edelman’s UK and Ireland chief called the deal the "last piece in the puzzle" for the firm’s services in the region. Meanwhile, the Marino Organization has teamed up with Italian firm Say What? and British agencies Porterfield Public Relations and Storm Communications in an alliance called Crossborders Public Relations: A Global Alliance.

Volkswagen committee grills CEO
A five-person committee grilled Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn on Wednesday morning about the automaker’s emissions software crisis. A full board meeting is set for Friday. The company shot down reports on Tuesday that it had decided to replace Winterkorn.

Yogi Berra dead at 90
Baseball legend Yogi Berra died late Tuesday night at age 90. The quotable three-time most valuable player and 10-time World Series champion was also a well-known pitchman, helping to make chocolate drink Yoo-Hoo a household name.

Starbucks: Still work to do helping workforce
Starbucks has come up short on some of the workforce-improvement promises it made a year ago, such as ending "clopening" back-to-back shifts, according to a report from the Center for Popular Democracy released Wednesday morning. "We’re the first to admit we have work to do," the company told The New York Times.

Milestone for Instagram
Instagram has surpassed the 400 million active monthly user mark, blowing past Twitter by the same measurement. The Facebook-owned photo-sharing app says 75% of its users are outside of the US, and its biggest growth is in Europe and Asia.

Reuters: Cision planning bid for PR Newswire
Cision is putting together a bid to acquire PR Newswire from UBM, which wants $700 million for the press-release-distribution service, according to Reuters. Cision also runs the similar Help a Reporter Out service.

Turing CEO backs down
Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli said he will lower the price of Daraprim from $750 a pill on Tuesday evening after a public outrage over the price of the drug. Newly minted Turning communications chief Craig Rothenberg has stepped down, saying the environment wasn’t a good fit for him.

Fiat’s VIP treatment
Fiat got a boost on Tuesday from Pope Francis choosing the enviro-friendly car instead of the SUV or limousine that foreign dignitaries usually use on state visits. President Obama will officially welcome the pontiff on Wednesday with a White House ceremony.

Digital shift at Washington Post
The Washington Post has switched up its digital strategy, saying Tuesday that all articles posted on its website will also go on Facebook’s Instant Articles platform. "We want to reach current and future readers on all platforms, and we aren’t holding anything back," Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan told The Wall Street Journal.

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