Southampton Leisure Holdings, the owners of Championship side Southampton football club, have today announced they are going into administration.
Shares in the company were suspended from trading on the AIM yesterday (April 1st), when it was confirmed that additional financing was required to keep the company afloat.
And today, the holding company has called in Mark Fry and David Hudson of Begbies Traynor as joint administrators with a view to refinancing or finding a buyer.
"Southampton Football Club has a long history in English football, and could be an extremely attractive investment for the right buyer," Fry explained.
"We are working hard to preserve the value of the football club and produce a positive outcome for all stakeholders, and I ask that fans continue show their support for the team for the remainder of the season, as we seek to show the best face possible to potential investors."
Further announcements will be made when it is appropriate to do so, a statement from Begbies Traynor added.
Yesterday, Southampton Leisure Holdings released a statement setting out their precarious financial position and confirmed they had been unable to submit a half-yearly report to December 31st 2008 by the 31 March 2009 deadline as required under AIM rules.
"A company that does not publish its half-yearly report within three months of the period end will have its shares automatically suspended," the statement said.
"The directors expect that the company will not be able to sign-off its half-yearly report for the six months ended December 31st 2008 until the completion of a re-financing."
Southampton's shares will not be reactivated on the markets until the aforementioned report has been published, the AIM added.
Shares in the club have lost a third of their value in the last week - plummeting from 14p per share to 9.5p per share when trading was suspended at 07:00 BST yesterday.
The club could be set to benefit from a loophole in Football League rules governing administrative procedures, however, as it will be the holding company that applies for bankruptcy rather than the club.
However, inthenews.co.uk has learned that Southampton would be unlikely to avoid punishment from the league and would probably face a statutory minimum ten-point deduction next season.
The Football League has so far been unavailable for comment.