Bell Pottinger goes into administration amid South Africa scandal
Some of PR company’s 250 staff have already been made redundant after row over campaign to stir up racial tensions
Lord Bell and James Henderson, both of whom left Bell Pottinger as the scandal unfolded. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian
Bell Pottinger has been put into administration after the PR firm suffered an exodus of clients and increasing losses in the wake of the scandal over its campaign to stir up racial tensions in South Africa.
The administrators BDO, who had unsuccessfully sought a buyer in a fire sale of the embattled company, said it had made a number of the 250 staff redundant as it sought to recoup losses to pay off bank debt.
“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,” a BDO spokesman said. “Following an immediate assessment of the financial position, the administrators have made a number of redundancies.”
“The level of those 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,” BDO said.
BDO said the business had been “heavily financially impacted” by the loss of clients, partners and staff as the scandal spiralled in recent weeks.
The chief executive, James Henderson, resigned last Sunday, the day before the UK’s PR trade body expelled Bell Pottinger from its ranks.