PwC is believed to be working with Patisserie Holdings ahead of a possible administration, which could come as early as today.

It comes as the crisis surrounding the Luke Johnson-chaired group deepens. This morning the company said it had been made aware that Chris Marsh, who is currently suspended from his role as finance director, had been arrested.

Yesterday the company admitted it had found “a material shortfall between the reported financial status and the current financial status of the business”.

The board warned that without an immediate injection of capital, there was no scope for the business to continue trading in its current form.

As a consequence, the board said it was now assessing all options available to the business to keep it trading.

The Luke Johnson-chaired company suspended trading in its shares on AIM on Wednesday after uncovering “significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities”. It launched an investigation into its true financial position and suspended chief financial officer Chris Marsh from his role.

A few hours later it revealed a winding up petition relating to a £1.1m unpaid tax bill.

The company has made no further comment on the extent of the blackhole discovered but it has been rumoured to be in excess of £20m. At its interim results in May the company said it had net cash on its balance sheet of £28.8m.

At Tuesday’s closing share price of 429½p, Patisserie Holdings had a market capitalisation of £446m, valuing Johnson’s 37% stake in the business at c£165m.

Julie Palmer, an insolvency practitioner at Begbies Traynor, told the FT a refinancing involving minority shareholders would raise significant trust issues. “It is very concerning that a winding-up order was issued in September but that the board did not know about it until yesterday,” she said.

At its half-year results, the company reported £28m of cash on its balance sheet. An interim dividend of 1.44p a share was paid in July. A banker specialising in retail said it was likely that landlords of the company’s 206 outlets would have been paid at the end of September, leaving suppliers and staff facing the greatest uncertainty. “The biggest problem is that suppliers will be owed money, probably under 30-day terms. Unless they receive some guarantees it is unlikely they will continue to supply the company,” he said.