Bell Pottinger exploring potential sale following PRCA expulsion

Bell Pottinger exploring potential sale following PRCA expulsion

Bell Pottinger exploring potential sale following PRCA expulsion

Britain's Bell Pottinger has put itself up for sale after it lost clients for running a racially charged campaign in South Africa, potentially bringing down the curtain on one of the world's leading public relations agencies.

HSBC said it would no longer work with the firm following the news, while the Bank of Ireland said it was also reviewing their relationship.

Banking giant HSBC, consultancy and accountancy firm EY and lender CYBG, led by former AIB chief executive David Duffy, are among a raft of groups that have dropped Bell Pottinger following the controversy.

Chime instead wrote off its investment and handed its holding back.

The latest measures come as Bell Pottinger continues to dominate the front pages of the media for the third consecutive day, an almost-unprecedented phenomenon for a PR firm.

The campaign portrayed opponents of Zuma as agents of "white monopoly capital", with slogans referring to "economic apartheid".

At least four major clients, including Investec, are also understood to have ditched Bell Pottinger's services over the racism row.

The UK accounts for 40 per cent of Bank of Ireland's loan book, mainly through its joint venture with the British Post Office.

Earlier this week, the PRCA said that it had "imposed its most serious sanctions on Bell Pottinger".

The expulsion came into effect on Tuesday for a minimum of five years, after which the firm can reapply.

In response to the decision, Bell Pottinger said it "accepts that there are lessons to be learned but disputes the basis on which the ruling was made" and said that it would "refocus on delivering outstanding work for our clients and looking after our people".

Lord Tim Bell, the firm's co-founder, admitted the company would "almost certainly" fail to recover from the Gupta-linked scandal during an interview on BBC Newsnight on Monday evening. "However, I think it is important I take proper accountability for what has happened".

What makes this outcome more rewarding is that this woeful outcome for Bell Pottinger has been wrought without the need for society to introduce expensive litigation action for the transgressor to suffer the consequences of its unwarranted conduct.

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