Hayes took ownership of the two-time European champions in 2008 and has overseen initiatives such as the introduction of the annual St George's Day game at Twickenham and the staging of last season's LV=Cup fixture against Harlequins in Abu Dhabi.
Hayes had also planned for the club, along with Wycombe Wanderers Football Club, to move into a new sporting village in High Wycombe, which would have included a 17,500 capacity stadium.
But Wycombe District Council withdrew their support for the proposal in the summer and, with that plan having fallen through, Hayes felt that he could not take the club forward as he had hoped and has decided to search for a new owner to build on the foundations he has laid.
Wasps currently play their home games at Wycombe's Adams Park ground, where they have a two-year notice period.
Hayes said: "I remain disappointed that Wycombe District Council withdrew its support for the sporting village project earlier this year and since that time I have been working with the London Wasps board to evaluate the best steps forward for the club.
"I fully believe that a new stadium for Wasps is essential in the coming years as we have always said that Adams Park was unsustainable as a long-term option.
"I will work with any potential owners to develop the sporting village model we had already come up with at an alternative location."
The club have appointed chartered accountants Baker Tilly to help with the investment process.
Board member and former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio added: "Steve's passion and vision over the past number of years has helped bring the club to new audiences around the world and any new owners will take on a club in a healthy position in terms of the direction it is heading on and off the pitch."
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