A number of private equity groups have shown an interest in acquiring a stake in Rhubarb, the event caterer and restaurant operator, which was placed on the market earlier this year.

According to the Betaville blog site, Hawksmoor-backer Graphite Capital, Bregal Freshstream and Pho-backer Livingbridge are all in the running to acquire the business, which is valued at £100m. MCA understands that second-round bids are due in next week.

MCA revealed in January that ECI Partners, the private-equity backer of Rhubarb, had appointed advisers Lincoln International to assess its options for the event caterer and restaurant operator including a possible sale of the business.

ECI paid £12m to acquire a substantial minority holding in Rhubarb back in August 2012, in a deal valuing the business at an estimated £30m.

Rhubarb, which is led by managing director Pieter-Bas ‘PB’ Jacobse, has built a reputation for catering for some of the country’s best-known venues, including Royal Ascot, the London Eye and the Saatchi Gallery. It also provides meals for first-class passengers on Virgin Atlantic.

In 2011, Heston Blumenthal signed an exclusive contract with the company and joined its board of directors.

It most recently opened the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street in the capital and won a £60m contract to supply event catering at the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex

ECI previously owned Discovery Inns, the pub operator, and Tragus, the former operator of Café Rouge and Bella Italia.