Bell Pottinger resurrects Ptarmigan

Bell Pottinger has rescued Ptarmigan after it went into administration last week, but the majority of its staff will be made redundant.

Ptarmigan: rebirth
Ptarmigan: rebirth

PRWeek broke the story that the two firms were in acquisition talks in January and that Ptarmigan had gone into administration last week, following the ill health of its founder and MD Gordon Forbes.

Bell Pottinger has now bought parts of the Leeds-based business and certain assets from the administrators for an undisclosed fee.

The consultancy will continue to trade as Ptarmigan, but will be run by Bell Pottinger North and headed up by its MD Chris Waram.

Bell Pottinger North is currently in negotiations with staff, but expects to reduce the headcount in Ptarmigan's Leeds office to nine. PRWeek believes this means up to 16 staff may be made redundant. Back office functions will be handled at Bell Pottinger North's headquarters in Macclesfield.

The agency inherits Ptarmigan's 15 client contracts which include Portakabin, accountancy firm BDO Stoy Hayward and Leeds Primary Care Trust. This means Bell Pottinger North, known for healthcare and B2B work, has now expanded into consumer PR.

Ptarmigan founder Gordon Forbes will work with Bell Pottinger on a part time consultancy basis. He said: 'With the realisation that my health issues meant that I had to leave the business, came a focus on identifying a strong brand that could build on Ptarmigan's heritage. Bell Pottinger's credentials are first class and our talks emphasised that we share a business philosophy based on consultancy accountability and client satisfaction'.

Waram said: 'This is a business that Gordon has built up over the years and we are pleased to be taking the name forward.'

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