- BBC / screengrab
LONDON – Crisis-hit PR firm Bell Pottinger has formally entered bankruptcy proceedings after failing to find a buyer. It collapsed after ran a PR campaign in South Africa that allegedly encouraged racism against white people.
Accountancy firm BDO has been appointed an administrator for the firm.
BDO said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon that a notice of intention to appoint three partners as administrators was filed on Friday, and became effective today.
A statement from BDO said: “Late last week, the level of […] losses, compounded by the inability of the business to win new clients, was such that remaining management were left with no option but to commence the process to place all UK Bell Pottinger entities into administration.”
“Following an immediate assessment of the financial position, the administrators have made a number of redundancies.
“The administrators are now working with the remaining partners and employees to seek an orderly transfer of Bell Pottinger’s clients to other firms in order to protect and realise value for creditors. We have taken appropriate steps to preserve the rights Bell Pottinger may have in relation to the failure of the business,” the statement added.
Up to 270 jobs will be affected.
Bell Pottinger was one of the most prominent PR firms in the UK, offering services such as speech-writing, reputation management, and lobbying. Its controversial clients have included the government of Bahrain, former Chilean dictator General Pinochet, and convicted pedophile Rolf Harris.
The collapse of the company followed a media exposé of its activities in South Africa, where it was accused of inciting racial hatred during a campaign in South Africa. The firm received a £100,000-a-month contract from Oakbay, a company controlled by the Gupta family. Bell Pottinger was accused of trying to divert attention from the close links between the Gupta family and South African president Jacob Zuma with a campaign that branded opponents of the president as agents of “white monopoly capital.”