SFI Group has collapsed, calling in adminstrators to break up and sell off the group.
Laurel Pub Company, the managed operation owned by property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz, has moved to snap up 98 of the 150 SFI pubs. It has also acquired SFI's head office function.
The business has been on the market for some time, with Tchenguiz seen as the lead bidder. However, Laurel has chosen to cherry pick sites from the administrators rather than buy the entire business.
David Chubb, Mike Jervis and David Hargrave of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) have been appointed joint administrators of SFI, which employs 2900 people and operates the Slug and Lettuce, Bar Med, Havana, and the Litten Tree chains.
Mr Chubb said: "Following a comprehensive marketing process, the successful sale of two-thirds of the SFI estate would be a significant piece in the consolidation of the UK licensed sector.
"We are conducting a review of the performance and alternative sale options for the remaining 52 sites."
A PWC spokesman told thePublican.com that Laurel has bought a mixture of sites from across all SFI's brands. The remainder are being actively marketed and as yet, no redundancies have been made.
SFI has never recovered from the financial difficulties which hit the company three years ago, despite valiant efforts at restructuring by a new management team.
Laurel will now operate around 400 outlets including Hog's Head, RSVP, Casa, as well as the Yates and Ha Ha Bar brands acquired last month.