The London-based buyout firm has received bids from Livingbridge and “a number of other interested parties”, one of the people said, bringing it one step closer to exiting the high-end caterer.
Lloyds Bank-owned private equity firm LDC was also looking to acquire the company but its bid crumbled over pricing concerns, another of the people said.
An exit would mark the end of four years of ownership for ECI, which took a minority stake in the business in 2012, in a deal valuing the company at about £30 million.
Rhubarb was founded in 1996 as an events caterer. It currently owns and runs operations at a number of well-known London sites including the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street, the Royal Albert Hall, the Saatchi Gallery and Royal Ascot Racecourse.
In October 2015, the company won a contract worth around £60 million to run the catering operations at the Goodwood Estate, which hosts motor and horse racing events.
The management team at Rhubarb recently won mid-market team of the year at the British Venture Capital and Private Equity Association’s Management Team Awards.
The company is chaired by Stephen Alexander, former chairman of Dunkin’ Donuts and Odeon Cinemas.
Lincoln International was appointed to run the sale process earlier this year.