The 8 stories PR pros need to know on Wednesday morning, 1.27.2016

WPP outlines eye-popping digital spending numbers; US business boosts Next Fifteen results; Lyft settles class action suit with drivers; Twitter close to naming comms leader; Trump to sit out Thursday night Fox News debate.

Martin Sorrell's WPP is spending billions on behalf of clients on digital media.
Martin Sorrell's WPP is spending billions on behalf of clients on digital media.

What WPP spends on social platforms
The world’s largest marketing services holding company told Business Insider how much money it spent on behalf of clients on digital media last year. The numbers — $4 billion on Google and $1 billion on Facebook — are even more eye-popping considering they’re up 38% and 56% from 2014, respectively.

US business boosts Next Fifteen
The holding company that owns and operates M Booth, Text100, Bite, and others reported 8% organic revenue growth for the 11 months ending 2015 on Wednesday morning, driven by a strong performance by its US business. Overall revenue, including acquisitions, was up 19% in the period.

Lyft settles with California drivers; What will Uber do?
Ride-hailing service Lyft settled a class action lawsuit with drivers in California, agreeing to pay them more than $12 million. However, the company does not have to classify them as employees. Uber is entrenched in a similar class action suit with its drivers in the state.

Twitter close to naming top comms exec…
The microblogging platform is eyeing former Apple comms executive Natalie Kerris for its top PR job, Re/code reported Tuesday night. She exited Apple last year after its number one comms job went to Steve Dowling. Twitter named Ketchum and American Express veteran Leslie Berland to its CMO role on Tuesday.

…As a former top Twitter executive moves to a rival
Former Twitter head of product Kevin Weil is joining Instagram, one of the microblogging platform’s main rivals. He’ll serve as head of product at the Facebook-owned company, reporting to CEO Kevin Systrom. Weil was one of four top executives who left Twitter this weekend.

Another Super Bowl, another quarterback investigated
The NFL confirmed Tuesday night that it is looking into HGH allegations against Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, a year after it investigated "deflategate" in the run-up to the big game. Manning has adamantly denied the accusations, and his sponsors have stuck with him.

CBS News looks into how Wounded Warrior Project spends its money
Critics are accusing the veterans charity of spending too much money on staff salaries and events, rather than veterans themselves. A smaller percentage of the donations raised by the group go directly to veterans than that raised by the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust and Fisher House, according to CBS News. The Wounded Warrior Project raised more than $300 million in 2014.

Trump to sit out Thursday night debate
The long-running tensions between Donald Trump and Fox News bubbled over on Tuesday night when the GOP frontrunner said he won’t participate in Thursday night’s Republican debate, accusing moderator Megyn Kelly of bias. Fox said his campaign manager is terrorizing the host. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz challenged Trump to a "mano a mano" — his words — debate.

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