Mice Group's UK business was in administration last night after attempts to refinance the ailing international exhibitions and market specialist failed.
The move to appoint Grant Thornton recovery specialists as administrators was at the request of the directors of the Coventry-based group, which was founded by Midland millionaire Michael Curley who retired in 2005.
Mice shares were suspended at 6p on Tuesday when the company followed a series of profit warnings earlier this year with a statement announcing it was in talks with its banks.
The company, which employs some 1,700 people across 64 companies in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and North America, said it was running out of money.
A statement to the London Stock Exchange yesterday said the company had been unable to reach agreement with its lenders and the board had had no option but to put the company and 14 UK subsidiaries into administration.
It said none of the businesses in the International Division, which is run by Mr Curley's son, James Curley, or in North America are insolvent.
The 14 companies in administration largely deal with joinery and metalwork used in the manufacture of shop fittings, exhibitions and educational establishments.
They employ a total of about 800 people, including more than 200 in Coventry, 160 in Cambridge and 100 in Nottingham.
Joint administrator Mark Byers of Grant-Thornton said: "We will be analysing the position of the UK manufacturing businesses over the next few days to establish which are saleable assets.
"The businesses have generally suffered from eroding margins and cash flow difficulties but have a blue chip customer base.
"The International and North American divisions, where much of the high value marketing services skills are situated and with a blue chip customer base, are well placed and generally performing strongly."
No layoffs have yet been announced among the 14 businesses in administration.