Bell Pottinger confirms that it is for sale

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The company is planning for a new corporate PR and public affairs contract but it is understood that Bell Pottinger will not be asked to submit a bid.

The public relations trade body described Bell Pottinger's work for the South African based Gupta family as "reprehensible".

Lydia Christie, an employment lawyer at Howard Kennedy, said Bell Pottinger can expect more senior staff to leave: "During times of severe reputational damage like this it is extremely hard to hold onto key personnel".

Bell Pottinger was being paid £100,000 a month by Oakbay.

His departure raises big concerns for Bell Pottinger's ability to retain a number of its key City clients after HSBC, which said it has "used Bell Pottinger for specific projects in the past", announced it will not do so again in the future. "I think it's very sad that something that I ran for years and years has been destroyed in less than a year", he told Reuters by telephone.

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HSBC is just one of several clients to have stopped working with Bell Pottinger, joining a list that also includes Carillion, Temasek, Clydesdale Bank, TalkTalk, St James Place, Acacia, Investec, Richemont and Tourism South Africa.

"[Clydesdale] and its associated brands no longer work with Bell Pottinger", said a spokesman for the bank.

Meanwhile, WPP-backed Chime Communications has confirmed that it no longer holds a 27% stake in Bell Pottinger.

James Henderson, largest shareholder of BP, quit his CEO spot on September 3.

It has also emerged that Bell Pottinger's second largest shareholder has walked away from the business by writing off its investment and handing back the stake to the struggling PR firm.

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In addition to HSBC, Clydesdale Bank, the construction company Carillion, and United Kingdom broadband operator TalkTalk all revealed on Tuesday that they had stopped working with Bell Pottinger. "There is a determination to learn from this".

Earlier this week, the PRCA said that it had "imposed its most serious sanctions on Bell Pottinger".

"It's a right I am extremely happy to exercise", he added.

BDO will try to find a buyer for the company, which employs 250 people across its offices in London, Asia and the Middle East.

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