MACLAY Inns, the owner of famous Glasgow ale house the Three Judges, has been bought out of out of administration by the company behind the Yates's and Slug and Lettuce brands.

The 15-strong Maclay portfolio, which includes Balloch's Tullie Inn and The Rule in St Andrews, has been snapped up by Stonegate Pub Company after being marketed with an £11.7 million price tag.

The deal comes after Alloa-based Maclay called in administrators at EY in January, citing an "unexpected funding requirement".

Stonegate operates more than 600 outlets across the UK. The company said it had reinvested the proceeds of pub disposals in the last two years to make the Maclay purchase.

Chief Executive Simon Longbottom said: "The prudent reviewing and planning of our estate has enabled Stonegate to invest in a high quality, predominantly freehold business that further strengthens our portfolio within Scotland.

"We look forward to welcoming the teams in situ into the Stonegate family."

The deal is expected to be completed in early July.

The Maclay outlets have continued to trade since the company went into administration, with the majority of its 500-strong workforce still intact.

The pubs were sold on behalf of EY by licensed trade specialist CDLH, which described the process carried out by the accountancy giant as a "textbook" administration.

It was unable to disclose the sale price, but CDLH partner Alan Creevy said the agent was "very happy with the outcome."

He said there been strong interest from potential buyers during the three-month process, and had welcomed offers from parties seeking to buy the whole estate, bundles of pubs, or individual units.

Mr Creevy said: "It was a textbook exercise by EY. They brought the management and staff on board and the business did not see any impact from the administration.

He added: "It was only a three-month process - we only started the exercise in March. These things normally take six, nine or 12 months."