The publishers of the Irish Independent in Ireland have warned their financial adviser Deloitte to be "on standby" in case their latest debt deal talks collapse.
Independent News and Media has so far been unable to strike a deal with bondholders that would allow it to restructure its debts.
Now, Deloitte is expected to be appointed as examiner to the former media giant as a plan proposed by the controlling O'Reilly family has failed to get the green light.
The publishing company, which has been controlled by Anthony O’Reilly since 1973, is still trying to refinance a €200 million bond and has already extended the payment deadline twice.
The latest deadline is now July 24 but sources in Ireland say the company is unlikely to make that deadline.
Today's move, which was described in England today as "a statement of the bleeding obvious" - could see INM enter bankruptcy protection similar to Chapter 11 here.
The company’s second-largest shareholder, Denis O’Brien with 26 per cent, last month rejected a proposal from O'Reilly and his son Gavin which would have given bondholders cash and shares in a reconstructed company.
O’Brien said any such cash and shares would have to be worth less than the €200 million ($279 million) because the debt is not secured against INM's assets.
The unsecured debt means that bondholders would be unlikely to get their money back if INM collapses.
O'Brien's thinking is reflected in the markets where INM's debt is trading at a 75 percent discount.
The group, which has grown from being Ireland's leading newspaper group to an international media concern saw debts increast to €1.4 billion ($1.95 million) as it went on a buying spree in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and England.