Outsourcing giant Interserve has failed to persuade shareholders to approve a rescue plan for the company.
Interserve is expected to go into administration later today, although its contracts are likely to continue as normal and no job cuts are expected.
But its failure is likely to prompt further debate over the use of private sector contracts for public services.
Interserve has 45,000 UK staff, and 65,000 globally, cleaning schools, and running catering and building projects.
Shareholders voted 59.38% against the plan, which would have seen their stake reduced to just 5%, with lenders being handed the lion’s share of the business.
Interserve said: “The board of directors of the company is convening an urgent board meeting to consider its options.” However, the company added that “in the absence of