Bell Pottinger collapses after South African scandal

Bell Pottinger HQImage copyright
Reuters

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Bell Pottinger is usually based in Holborn, central London

Bell Pottinger has collapsed into administration inside the UK after running a racially charged PR campaign in South Africa.

The troubled public relations firm put itself up for sale last week, yet could not find a buyer.

The administrators BDO said the firm had been “heavily financially impacted” by the scandal.

The level of its losses as well as the inability to win brand-new clients left the firm with no different option, BDO said.

Bell Pottinger was ejected via the UK’s industry body last week for a PR campaign of which emphasised the power of white-owned businesses in South Africa.

A string of clients, including HSBC, Investec as well as luxury goods company Richemont, cut ties with the firm over its work on the campaign.

Job losses

Bell Pottinger filed plans to appoint three BDO administrators on Friday, as well as the appointment became effective on Tuesday.

A BDO spokesman said: “Following an immediate assessment of the financial position, the administrators have made several redundancies.

“The administrators are today working with the remaining partners as well as employees to seek an orderly transfer of Bell Pottinger’s clients to different firms in order to protect as well as realise value for creditors.”

Bell Pottinger’s Middle East as well as Asian units had already announced plans to separate via the UK parent company.

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Getty Images

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South Africa’s opposition party filed a complaint over the campaign

The PR firm worked on the controversial campaign for Oakbay, a company owned by the wealthy Guptas family in South Africa.

The work was criticised for presenting opponents of President Jacob Zuma as well as the Guptas as agents of “white monopoly capital”.

Clientele

Bell Pottinger as well as its co-founder, Lord Bell, had a reputation for taking risks. Lord Bell, who was a PR adviser to Margaret Thatcher, resigned via the firm last year.

The company represented Oscar Pistorius, the South African Olympic athlete, after he was charged with murder.

Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko has used the firm’s services, as well as Syria’s first lady Asma al-Assad.

inside the late 1990s the PR firm worked on a campaign to Discharge former Chilean dictator General Pinochet after his arrest in London on a Spanish extradition warrant on murder charges.

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