Southern Cross, the financially-troubled owner of 752 care homes in Britain, said on Monday that it is to close, although its 31,000 residents will continue to receive care.
Southern Cross' shares were suspended after the company finally collapsed under the weight of its unpayable rent bill, though shareholders had already lost their investments after a dramatic share price collapse in recent months.
The company said in a statement on Monday that it plans to cease operating and hand its homes over to Southern Cross' landlords.
"My objective, and that of my team, is to continue to provide excellent care to every resident and to manage the programme of transition professionally," Southern Cross chief executive Jamie Buchan said in the statement.
Southern Cross said it made the decision after the landlords of all its properties decided to stop supporting the company. It is working on a plan to facilitate the transfer of its homes to the landlords and, in some cases, their new operators.
The company's shares have been suspended with immediate effect.
New operators have been found for 250 out of the 752 homes and landlords of the other 502 homes are said to be "currently finalising their plans".
Once the closure of the group's operations has taken place, Southern Cross will have "little or no value" left to hand out to shareholders, it said.
Southern Cross chairman Christopher Fisher said: "We regret the loss of value which shareholders have experienced."
Chief executive Jamie Buchan said: "My objective, and that of my team, is to continue to provide excellent care to every resident and to manage the programme of transition professionally.
"All 44,000 staff can take pride from the significant operational turnaround and improvements in care delivery which have been achieved over the past two years."
British Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said that no care home residents would be made homeless following the company's collapse.
"We have said all along that no-one will be left homeless as a result of this," the spokesman told reporters on Monday.
"Local authorities have a duty to ensure people get appropriate care. There are currently around 50,000 spaces available across the country so there should be no reason why anyone will be out on the street. We will ensure that they have somewhere to live and they have appropriate care."
Dave Prentis, leader of Unison trades union, called on the government to take urgent action to protect the well-being of the residents in Southern Cross homes.
He said: "This will be a major upheaval and tragedy for people living and working in these homes. It comes as a timely warning to David Cameron about the dangers of his plans to bring in more private companies to run public services."