UK restaurant chain Pizza Express may become the focus of a takeover battle after recommending a £263m (US$414.9m) offer from former chairman and co-founder Luke Johnson.

Johnson made his bid through Venice Bidder, a firm set up specifically to takeover Pizza Express.

However, following the news that a takeover of the restaurant chain might finally be agreed, venture capital firms TDR Capital and Capricorn Ventures International (CVI) said they might make a higher bid for the company.

“(We) are considering whether to make an offer for Pizza Express at a premium to the offer price announced by Venice bidder,” the two companies said in a statement.