Government contractor Interserve, which operates the Autograph foodservice brand that caters to schools and hospitals as well as the B&I sector, is set to fall into administration.
The outsourcing firm failed to secure investor backing for a restructuring plan in a general meeting this afternoon. The firm employs 45,000 people in the UK across a number of sectors and industries - including construction and equipment services.
However insiders have suggested it will be bought out later today by the company's investors. In a statement the firm said that if an order for administration is granted it would likely lead to "the immediate sale of the company's business and assets (i.e. the entire group) to a newly incorporated company, to be owned by the existing lenders".
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "This announcement will not affect jobs or the provision of public services delivered by Interserve. We are in close contact with the company and we are confident a positive way forward will be found."
The failure to secure backing comes a year after the liquidation of government contractor Carillion, which led to more than 2,500 redundancies.
Responding on Twitter, Labour MP John Trickett said: "The Tories are once again asleep on the job and they have failed the British people & our public services. They have learned nothing from Carillon's collapse."Get The Caterer every week on your smartphone, tablet, or even in good old-fashioned hard copy (or all three!).