Bell Pottinger likely to be placed in administration on Monday

Bell Pottinger is expected to be placed into administration on Monday, with a number of employees having been informed that they are set to be made redundant, PRWeek has learned.

It follows news earlier this week that the crisis-hit firm has appointed accountancy firm BDO to look at options following the scandal over its activities with South Afrcian client Oakbay. BDO is due to be appointed as administrator.

A number of clients have severed ties with Bell Pottinger since news of the scandal emerged.

The past four days have seen the resignation of CEO James Henderson and the agency thrown out of the PRCA for running activities that were judged "likely to inflame racial discord". It led to much negative coverage in the national media.

Among the senior figures at the agency to depart recently include John Sunnucks, the chairman of Bell Pottinger’s corporate and financial practice, who has set up his own consultancy. Nick Lambert, a director at Bell Pottinger who is believed to have been one of the employees suspended for his part in the Oakbay work, has also left the agency.

The focus has turned to a potential buyer for the agency and its assets. The Guardian reported on Wednesday that comms agency Lewis had expressed an interest in the business. However, Lewis UK MD Giles Peddy told PRWeek: "We are not buying Bell Pottinger."

Chime Communications handed its 27 per cent stake in Bell Pottinger back to the beleaguered PR agency last month, apparently without any money changing hands, it emerged this week.

The agency is estimated to have generated UK revenue of £27m in 2016, employing around 190 people, according to PRWeek's UK Top 150 Consultancies table.

PRWeek contacted Bell Pottinger but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

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