A mixture of private equity groups and trade buyers are currently in the running to acquire Be At One, the Piper-backed premium cocktail bar chain, which was placed on the market earlier this year.

MCA understands that the group of suitors for the 32-strong business, includes Bowmark Capital – the backer of Drake & Morgan; Duke Street Capital – the backer of Wagamama; and Stonegate Pub Company.

AlixPartners was appointed to oversee the process, which officially began in February, with Be At One valued at c£50m.

Be At One was on course to report turnover of c£36m in its current financial year - to the end of March - up from £29.3m in the previous 12 months.

The business has generated a like-for-like sales increase of 9%-plus for the past five years and produced positive like-for-like sales since inception in 1998.

The group, which is looking to open six to seven sites annually, is believed to be in talks on its first site in Scotland, thought to be in Edinburgh; on a site in Bournemouth and further units in the capital.

It recently opened a second site in Leeds, the first time it has opened another unit in a regional city.

In terms of scale, the company sees no reason why it can’t grow to well in excess of 100 sites in the UK eventually.