To build DC presence, Boston PR firm buys rival

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Rasky-Baerlein Strategic Communications of Boston will buy a Washington public relations company as it seeks to build its presence in the nation’s capital, where decisions have an increasing impact on Massachusetts businesses and the state economy.

Rasky-Baerlein, a public relations and lobbying firm, already has operations in Washington, but the acquisition of Prism seeks to deepen the Boston company’s expertise in a changing regulatory and legislative climate. The merger, a stock transaction, will more than double the Boston firm’s staff in Washington, to 25 from 9, said chief executive Larry Rasky.

Rasky and his partner, Joseph T. Baerlein, said Massachusetts companies recognize the importance of the federal decisions to their businesses and expanding in Washington help it serve existing clients and attract new ones.

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