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Ashurt has picked up a key advisory role as stricken PR agency Bell Pottinger today collapsed into administration.
The firm is advising BDO, where three partners have been named as administrators.
Ashurst corporate partner Bruce Hanton and restructuring partner Olga Galazoula are advising BDO, having previously acted for Bell Pottinger as it headed towards administration.
Hanton previously advised the PR company in 2012, when founder Lord Bell bought back the company from communications company Chime.
Hogan Lovells is advising Lloyds Banking Group as the agency’s biggest lender.
The notice of intention to appoint administrators was filed late on Friday but came into effect today (12 September).
None of Bell Pottinger’s subsidiaries outside the UK have entered administration and they will continue to trade under their separate management teams.
A BDO spokesperson said: “Following an immediate assessment of the financial position, the administrators have made a number of redundancies. The administrators are now working with the remaining partners and employees to seek an orderly transfer of Bell Pottinger’s clients to other firms in order to protect and realise value for creditors. We have taken appropriate steps to preserve the rights Bell Pottinger may have in relation to the failure of the business.”
Confirmation of the agency’s collapse follows the high-profile resignation of its chief executive James Henderson last week, ahead of the publication of a critical report by Herbert Smith Freehills into Bell Pottinger’s role in a controversial campaign in South Africa.
The report found that the firm’s work for the Gupta family had breached “relevant ethical principles” and that the messaging of the campaign was “potentially racially divisive and offensive”.
Law firms Pinsent Masons and Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) joined a number of companies to have terminated relationships with Bell Pottinger after considering the findings of both HSF’s report and following the Public Relations and Communications Association’s decision to expel Bell Pottinger from the PR trade body.
Ashurst and Hogan Lovells declined to comment.
Other firms active in the lateral market include Hogan Lovells, Mishcon de Reya, DWF and Shakespeare Martineau
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