The 82-strong Slug & Lettuce brand is set to be transferred out of Bay Restaurant Group into sister company Town & City amid private equity interest in Bay.

The move will leave the restaurant company with two food-led brands, the 73-strong La Tasca and 24-strong Ha Ha chains.

Paul Symonds, chief executive, will be leaving at the end of February when the company’s financial year ends with commercial director Suzanne Baker taking over at the helm.

Symonds is understood to be pursuing a number of leisure sector opportunities.

It is thought that the removal of Slug will make Bay more attractive to potential bidders.

Analysts estimate the business could be worth £100m.

Bay Restaurants and Town & City Pubs were formed out of the pre-pack administration of Laurel Pub Company, which itself was created out of three businesses — Laurel Pub Company, SFI Group and Yates.

It was originally created by Robert Tchenguiz but his involvement ceased last March in the wake of moves by his lead bank Kaupthing to recall hundreds of millions of pounds of loans.

Both Bay and Town & City are chaired by Ian Payne. The transfer of the Slug & Lettuce brand to Town & City would mean the latter’s estate growing in size to around 230 pubs.

The move is expected to take place at the end of this month.

Bay has enjoyed flat like-for-likes in recent weeks while trading at Town & City is reported to be “strong”.