Intu Properties, the owner of some of the UK's biggest shopping centres - including intu Milton Keynes - will collapse into administration.
The news comes as intu Properties, which is already in £4.5bn worth of debt, failed to secure a deal with its lenders by today's deadline.
Earlier this week, intu had announced KMPG had been called in to prepare for administration. Now, this means that our local shopping centre intu Milton Keynes, amongst 17 others, is at risk of closure.
The company began talks with creditors in May and had requested they receive a grace period from banks for up to 18 months - but this has not been granted.
Its centres will stay open under administrators KPMG.
The company said shares listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges had been suspended.
The firm said it had appointed three administrators at the KPMG accountancy firm and that "the appointment is expected to become effective shortly".
MP for Milton Keynes North, Ben Everitt MP, says it is "likely to be one of the most complex administrations in UK retail history" with thousands of jobs left on the brink. "This is a really tough time for our retail sector," he told MKFM.
"I know Intu, the administrator and the creditors are working hard to find a solution that keeps shops open or minimises disruption if they have to close while a new owner is found. But sadly it looks like time is running out. It's devastating for local retail staff."
He continued: "I'll be pushing for the shops to be reopened as soon as possible, so we can protect as many jobs as possible and get our local economy bouncing back."
In March, the Chief Executive of intu Matthew Roberts said that 40% of the stores in intu's shopping centres were suffering from money problems and were trading on reduced rent which ultimately did not help intu's financial position.
Leader of Milton Keynes Council, Cllr Pete Marland, said: “It is obviously a very concerning situation for all those who work for Intu and the traders who rely on the centre. Intu is also vital for our city centre. MK Council is seeking to discuss the situation with the administrators to understand what their plans are for the centre in the short and longer term.”
The news comes just as intu Milton Keynes has reopened over half of its stores following the coronavirus lockdown. Bosses said that they had seen a major increase in footfall across the centre.