The High Court ordered the compulsory liquidation of the company, although staff will remain employed for now as the liquidator oversees the operation of the main site in Scunthorpe, northern England.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said British Steel was open to new buyers, while the opposition Labour Party called on the government to bring it back into public ownership.
Owned by investment firm Greybull Capital, British Steel employs around 5,000 people, mostly in Scunthorpe, while 20,000 more depend on its supply chain.
Greybull Capital, which specialises in trying to turn around distressed businesses, said it had tried to keep British Steel alive but the challenges of Britain's looming exit from the European Union proved insurmountable.
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