Queensland's 19-store Software Today chain and two related technology companies are in voluntary administration as a result of an Australian Securities Commission investigation.
Software Today, distributor Pactronics and PC supplier OK Technologies are in administration along with 13 other members of the Foundation Group of travel, investment, food and technology businesses.
Industry sources estimate creditors are owed up to $3 million by Software Today, which has outlets in Melbourne and Darwin as well as most large Queensland centres. Distributors Tech Pacific and Dataflow are believed to have the heaviest exposure to Software Today's problems.
Administrator Jack Duff, a partner with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, said the companies were still trading but rationalisation would occur while their continued viability was being assessed.
A creditors' meeting took place last Friday and administrators will make a decision on whether or not to wind up the companies by the end of the month. Staff involved in the Foundation Group companies total more than 100.
The ASC investigation targeted the Wattle Group, whose principal Geoffrey Dexter is also the main figure in the Foundation Group.