PR Giant Bell Pottinger Set To Trade Off Shares

Bell Pottinger

GETTYIt lost clients after running a racially charged campaign in South Africa

A United Kingdom public relations company that had represented a number of travel companies, including London City Airport, Boeing and Qatar Airways, has collapsed after being accused of running a campaign to stir up racial tension in South Africa.

The company had worked behind the scenes on some of the most defining moments in recent history, from the election of Margaret Thatcher to the death of Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.

The public relations outfit was put on the auction block the week before but was unable to find a buyer, after news of its actions led to an exodus of clients.

Bell Pottinger, which is based in London, has lost customers, partners and its second-biggest shareholder in recent weeks.

Administrators BDO said they had made a number of redundancies, adding: "Following an immediate assessment of the financial position, the administrators have made a number of redundancies".

Bell Pottinger apologised in July this year after an email published in South African media showed it had sought to stress the continued "existence of economic apartheid".

South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), blamed the PR firm of "divide and conquer the South African public by exploiting racial tensions in a bid to keep Jacob Zuma and the ANC in power".

Bell Pottinger's chief executive James Henderson resigned earlier this month.

Administrators BDP said the firm had been "heavily financially impacted" by the South Africa scandal.

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