REPORT: PR firm Bell Pottinger is on the brink of collapse in the wake of South Africa racism scandal

LONDON — Staff at PR firm Bell Pottinger have been told the company may go into administration as early as next Monday, according to the Financial Times.

A source with knowledge of the meeting said staff in London had been given the news on Thursday by chairman Mark Smith, and that the company’s board had decided the company was now insolvent.

Staff members voiced concerned about whether or not they would be paid, the report said.

Bell Pottinger did not confirm whether or not the company was insolvent, but a spokesperson told the Financial Times that accountancy firm BDO — hired to find a potential buyer for the company — was working on “restructuring” the business.

The PR firm was expelled from the industry trade body on Monday after the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) found it had exploited and worsened racial tensions in South Africa, while working for the powerful Gupta family. The PRCA’s report said the messaging campaign had played on existing divisions in the country, and used the #WhiteMonopolyCapital hashtag in relation to powerful white-owned businesses.

Major clients have publicly abandoned the firm in the wake of the report, including HSBC and TalkTalk.

Chief Executive James Henderson resigned on Sunday, although maintains he was not directly involved in the controversial messaging campaign and was misled by the executives in charge of the account.

Meanwhile, the firm’s Asian branch said it will break away from the main UK business and continue to trade.

The firm was co-founded by Lord Tim Bell who was closely associated with Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, and who resigned last year.

Business Insider has contacted Bell Pottinger for comment.

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