The 7 stories PR pros need to know on Friday morning, 10.9.2015

Stagwell Group acquires SKDKnickerbocker; Investigators look into second Volkswagen device; Biden aides meet with DNC; Playmobil toy called racist; DraftKings, FanDuel sued; Elon Musk tees off on Apple.

Mark Penn
Mark Penn

First acquisition for Stagwell Group
The Stagwell Group, the investment firm founded by former top Clinton White House pollster and Burson-Marsteller chief Mark Penn, has made its first acquisition: Democratic-leaning DC powerhouse public affairs firm SKDKnickerbocker. Stagwell’s primary backer is former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, who has contributed $250 million to the company.

Investigators look into second VW emissions device
Both federal and California state regulators are investigating a second device installed in Volkswagen diesel cars that reportedly helped the company avoid emissions regulations. Volkswagen Americas CEO Michael Horn apologized in front of Congress yesterday, but legislators were looking for more from the embattled executive.

More tea leaves on a Biden run
A group of key aides to Vice President Joe Biden recently met with the Democratic National Committee about rules and regulations he would have to follow were he to jump into the race. Observers took it as the strongest sign yet that the vice president will make another presidential bid.

Playmobil toy set called racist
At least one angry mom has said a Playmobil pirate ship toy set is racist because it includes instructions for the user to put what appears to be a shackle around a dark-skinned character’s neck. The ship also appears to include a dungeon.

DraftKings, FanDuel sued
A fantasy sports aficionado in Kentucky has sued DraftKings and FanDuel over allegations that the companies’ employees played on daily fantasy sports platforms using information not publicly available to gain an advantage. The companies began defending themselves from accusation of employee wrongdoing earlier this week.

Elon Musk takes on Apple
Tesla head Elon Musk savaged Apple’s reported attempts to build a car this week, saying it only hires engineers that his company doesn’t want. "If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding," he told a German newspaper.

Twitter boosts video ad services
Twitter is making it easier for marketers to post pre-roll advertising in video content on its platform, the company announced on Thursday, days after rolling out its Moments feature. The microblogging service also recently named Jack Dorsey to the CEO role on a permanent basis.

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