Woolworths' joint venture with BBC Worldwide, 2 Entertain, is poised to enter administration by the end of the week.

The business survived last week's collapse of Woolworths' stores division and wholesale business EUK and it was hoped the BBC would pay£100 million to assume full control.

However, 2 Entertain has been affected by the demise of EUK, upon which it relies for deliveries.

Consequently, the BBC wants to reduce its initial offer and was last night locked in talks with Woolworths' lenders Burdale and GMAC, according to The Times.

A£100 million sale of 2 Entertain would have secured a£50 million payment into Woolworths' final salary pension scheme. That now looks unlikely and pensioners may have to rely on the Pension Protection Fund for help.