Scandal-hit PR firm Bell Pottinger has advanced its administration efforts by selling off its Middle East wing to Hanover Group.
The parent group of the newly-acquired agency was brought into disrepute and eventual administration in September after it was found to have run a racially dividing campaign in South Africa for the Gupta family.
The work saw it expelled from for the industry trade body PRCA. At the time, the group said the campaign was “by any reasonable standard of judgement likely to inflame racial discord in South Africa”.
Less than a week after the expulsion it had entered administration as any chances of attracting new clients were heavily diminished.
Now, Hanover Group has swept in, announcing plans to rebrand the Middle East wing as Bell Pottinger looks to sell other assets with the help of consultancy BDO. It will be brought into line with the branding of its parent company.
The management teamwill remain in place throughout the transition with Archie Berens becoming chair of the new combined operation. Si Partners consulted Hanover Group in the acquisition.
Joe Hine, partner at Si Partners, and leader of the negotiations, said: “This is a really exciting deal for Hanover. The Middle East team are a great fit, bringing Archie and the team on board creates scale and presence in the Middle East for Hanover in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The deal provides an excellent platform for growth for the combined business.”
It comes after the Bell Pottinger's Singapore unit separated from its parent and rebranded as Klareco.