Axe about to fall on Bell Pottinger

Axe about to fall on Bell Pottinger”

Bell Pottinger could be put into administration as soon as next week after its financial plight worsened in the wake of a scandal over its secret campaign to stir up racial tensions in South Africa.

Sources said the agency - for decades a stalwart of the worldwide PR scene - could formally appoint administrators as soon as next week.

"They have days to close a deal, not weeks", a source close to the sales process told the Guardian.

A spokesman for the company said: "We are actively discussing restructuring options with BDO".

Bell Pottinger founder Tim Bell, who worked on former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher's victorious election campaigns in the 1970s and 1980s, said he was sad about the fate of the firm. Bell Pottinger came in for sound condemnation, with a representative for the British cabinet seeking to distance the British government from the firm's actions.

"We built this agency from the ground up". The company has said it will move quickly to find a replacement. Nonetheless, the House was warned that Bell Pottinger may have done serious damage to the UK's relationship with South Africa.

Staff were delivered the news after a tumultuous week for the High Holborn-headquartered public relations firm.

As problems continue to pile on for Bell Pottinger around the world following the fallout of a controversial campaign in South Africa, its Asian namesake has taken great pains to assure existing and potential clients that it is a separate legal entity.

The scandal has pushed clients to reconsider their use of Bell Pottinger.

James Henderson, the largest shareholder, resigned as chief executive over the weekend, just before the scale of the punishment from the PRCA became clear. "We hope staff and clients stay firm and strong".

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