The board of Woolworths is set to approve a decision to put its retail and distribution businesses into administration from tomorrow (Nov. 27). The board met at 6pm U.K. time to finalize the decision.

A source has confirmed to Reuters that consultants Deloitte would be appointed as administrator to the two businesses, but that Woolworths' DVD publishing joint venture with BBC Worldwide would not enter into administration. As well as the stores, Woolworths operates the retail distributor EUK, which supplies several major chains with CDs, DVDs and games. The 99-year-old company employs around 30,000 staff.

Woolworths and Deloitte declined to comment.

Woolworths Group earlier suspended trading in its shares on the London Stock Exchange, while the company continued its efforts to sell its U.K. retail business. It also confirmed media speculation that it was attempting to off-load its 40% stake in 2 Entertain, the DVD and music publisher.

In a statement to the Stock Exchange this morning, the board of Woolworths Group confirmed that it remained in discussions on the potential sale of its retail arm, which operates 800 stores selling items ranging from sweets and clothes to DVDs, games and CDs.

"The board also notes recent press speculation in relation to the possible sale of its 40% interest in the 2 Entertain joint venture with BBC Worldwide," said the statement. "The board can confirm that it is in discussions regarding a possible sale of that interest to BBC Worldwide.

"Whilst discussions in relation to such sales are being pursued with vigour, terms have not yet been agreed. Both sales are subject, amongst other things, to the approval of the group's lending banks. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that a sale of the group's retail business or of its interest in 2 Entertain will be concluded."

The statement added: "Pending the outcome of these discussions and the consequent impact on the Company's financial position, the Company has requested a suspension of the trading of its shares on the London Stock Exchange."

Woolworths' share price has dropped over the past few days as it emerged the company was in talks to sell its debt-laden retail arm to restructuring company Hilco for a price of reportedly £1 ($1.53).

In September, Woolworths Group reported a massive loss of £99.7 million ($178.04 million at September rates) for the six months to Aug. 2.