LA Tasca and Ha Ha Bar & Grill owner Bay Restaurants is being circled by private equity-backed firms keen to snap up the group, it was reported today.

The firm is understood to be completing a restructuring that will see the Slug and Lettuce chain transfer to its sister group Town & City Pub Company - a move expected to put the group in the frame for takeover.

There have already been several approaches from interested suitors, according to The Times.

Its overhaul is said to follow the decision of its chief executive Paul Symonds to leave.

He is believed to be looking at acquisitions in the leisure sector and is reportedly in talks with a number of private equity firms.

It is thought he may look at launching a buyout bid for Bay Restaurants, with other possible interested parties including Cafe Rouge and Strada restaurant firm Tragus, backed by private equity firm Blackstone.

Experts have reportedly put a price tag of at least £100 million on the firm.

Bay Restaurants and Town & City were previously owned by entrepreneur Robert Tchenguiz as part of his Laurel Pub Company.

But Laurel was forced into a pre-pack administration in March 2008 that split the firm in to two groups.

Bay then recently completed a debt-for-equity swap that helped secure its financial future until 2012.

But this saw the group fall under the control of failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing, which is currently in administration.

Bay Restaurant comprises three high street chains - the 24-strong Ha Ha Bar & Grill, recently rebranded from Ha Ha Bar & Canteen, 82 Slug & Lettuce outlets and 73 La Tasca eateries.

It is believed to have seen flat like-for-like sales over the past few weeks.

The transfer of Slug & Lettuce will boost Town & City Pub Company’s portfolio to 230.