British PR agency Bell Pottinger says it's exploring a potential sale after it lost business for running a racially charged campaign in South Africa, leaving its future increasingly uncertain. Rosanna Philpott reports
Disgraced and now facing a very uncertain future. Leading PR firm Bell Pottinger considering all options, including putting itself up for sale after a racism row in South Africa. The group led a campaign in support of President Jacob Zuma and his ruling party - portraying Zuma's opponents as agents of "white monopoly capital" and featuring slogans evoking "economic apartheid". South Africa's main opposition the Democratic Alliance complained to UK trade body the PRCA, accusing Bell Pottinger's campaign of stirring racial tensions they said it was trying to "divide and conquer" the South African public The dispute touching a nerve in a country where the white minority still wields disporportionate economic power, two decades after the end of apartheid. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GLOBAL FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, PETER DIXON, SAYING: "So this is just another in a long line of companies which have failed to manage their their brand correctly. And you know it does look very likely that the company will be forced to restructure or even close. I think its an object lesson to companies around the world many of whom are very careful about how to manage their brand that they simply cannot afford this kind of negative publicity." The effect of the ruling could be catastrophic in an industry that trades on reputation. HSBC severed ties on Tuesday And UK media saying at least four major clients, have ditched its services. Bell Pottinger chief executive James Henderson resigned on Monday The company disputes the basis on which the ruling was made, but has apologised for its conduct.