The 5 stories PR pros need to know on Thursday morning, 2.18.2016

Golin acquires The Brooklyn Brothers; Obama to visit Cuba; Google, WhatsApp back Tim Cook vs. FBI; Ford parts ways with ALEC; Democratic, Republican town halls tonight.

Golin CEO Fred Cook.
Golin CEO Fred Cook.

Breaking this morning: Golin buys creative shop The Brooklyn Brothers
Fred Cook, CEO of Golin, says he’s trying to build a new type of integrated agency by acquiring The Brooklyn Brothers, which has offices in the US, UK, and Brazil. The creative shop has annual revenues of more than $28 million. Golin is believed to have paid nearly $43 million for the firm.

Obama to visit Cuba
White House aides have leaked to the press that President Obama will visit the communist nation in the coming weeks, putting a symbolic exclamation point on his efforts to restore relations with the country. The trip will be part of a larger Latin American tour.

Google, WhatsApp back Tim Cook vs. FBI
Experts say the Apple CEO’s decision to write an open letter about privacy was a smart communications move, though they disagree about its long-term business impact. The leaders of Google and WhatsApp backed his stance, which some observers see as a career-defining move by Cook.

Ford, ALEC part ways
The automaker is cutting ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that fights environmental regulations at the state level. Ford is citing an "annual budget review." Dozens of companies have parted ways with the organization in recent years.

What to watch Thursday: Dueling town halls
Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, and John Kasich will appear in a CNN town hall in Nevada. (Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio opened up during Wednesday night’s event on the network). Polls show Cruz pulling close to or surpassing Trump nationally. MSNBC and Telemundo will jointly host a town hall in Nevada with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. 

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