Bell Pottinger's British arm collapses

JOHANNESBURG - Bell Pottinger's British arm has collapsed after the global public relations agency ran a racially-charged political campaign in South Africa that prompted a client exodus.

Having lost customers, partners and its second-biggest shareholder in recent weeks, the company was put into administration by accountants BDO, entering a form of creditor protection after it failed to find a buyer.

BDO has confirmed on Tuesday evening that following an immediate assessment of the financial position, the administrators have made a number of redundancies.

It’s now working to facilitate the orderly transfer of Bell Pottinger's clients to other firms.

'SINKING SHIP'

On Monday, the disgraced PR firm denied the rumours that it is under administration.

The rumours have been swirling following the revelations of the PR agency's conduct in South Africa.

Last week, Public Relations and Communications Association stripped Bell Pottinger of its membership after it found its campaigns fanned racial divisions in the country at the behest of the Gupta-owned Oakbay.

Reports over the weekend have portrayed Bell Pottinger as a sinking ship, unable to meet its debt obligations.

But the PR agency rubbished the rumours, before adding its accountancy firm is still considering all options for the company's future.

Since it was labelled as an unethical firm by the PRCA, some of the agency's clients chose to drop the firm.

Banking client HSBC has become one of the long list of big names to suspend its relationship with the disgraced PR agency.

It has further been reported Bell Pottinger's Middle Eastern Arm is in talks to cut itself from its mother company.

Additional reporting by Ilze-Marie Le Roux.

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