Bell Pottinger could be forced to shut down by end of 2017

There are also reports of major clients, including HSBC Bank, abandoning the company that met its own PR nightmare by working with the Gupta family on a racially divisive campaign.

A screengrab of the protected British public relations firm Bell Pottinger Twitter page. Picture: Twitter

LONDON - Controversial British Public Relations firm Bell Pottinger could be forced to shut down by the end of the year if it fails to service its debts.

It's being reported on Wednesday afternoon that the company has put itself up for sale after being expelled from the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA).

There are also reports of major clients, including HSBC Bank, abandoning the company that met its own PR nightmare by working with the Gupta family in South Africa on a racially divisive campaign.

Bell Pottinger has hired an accounting firm to sell the company, and sell it fast.

The Guardian is reporting the firm must service its debts by Christmas, while the Financial Times says another one of its top executives has resigned.

Speaking to Channel 4 News, the industry watchdog's Francis Ingham echoes what many of the headlines are saying.

“It is kind of ironic that a company that specialises in reputation management has managed to destroy its own reputation over the course of a few months.”

One of Bell Pottinger's major shareholders has handed back its portion after failing to find anyone to buy it.