Thomas Cook, Britain's oldest travel agent, was close to collapsing on Sunday night as last-ditch rescue talks looked like ending in catastrophic failure.
Sky News has learnt that the company's creditors and the government are anticipating an announcement on Monday morning that the 178-year-old business had ceased trading - with a new Whitehall taskforce set up to address the crisis.
Insiders told Sky News that the Official Receiver was expected to be involved in any insolvency process, with KPMG, the big four accountancy firm, handling the administration or liquidation of Thomas Cook's UK tour operating division - which comprises more than 550 high street shops.
AlixPartners is expected to oversee the insolvency of the group's airlines, with the Department for Transport and Civil Aviation Authority co-ordinating the biggest-ever peacetime repatriation of British citizens.
In total, Thomas Cook has more than 600,000 customers currently overseas, more than 160,000 of whom are from the UK.
Sources said the government was expected to launch a joint taskforce to oversee Whitehall's response to the crisis, which will pose an immediate threat to 9000 UK-based jobs.
And another round of job losses and empty high street shops.