Sara Lee rejects private equity group offer

By Reuters
Posted Jan. 26 at 11:28 a.m.

Sara Lee Corp. has rejected a takeover offer valued between $18.70 and $20 a share from a private equity group led by Apollo Global Management LP, a source familiar with the situation said Wednesday.

Sara Lee has been weighing splitting up the company into separate meat and beverage units, or accepting a takeover offer. Sara Lee’s board was scheduled to meet Wednesday and Thursday to weigh its options, a source previously told Reuters.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sara Lee was seeking a higher price from the Apollo group, which also includes Bain Capital and TPG Capital LP.

Apollo declined to comment. TPG and Bain were not immediately available to comment.

JBS SA, the world’s biggest meat company, made a verbal buyout offer to Sara Lee for roughly $21 a share, or $13.4 billion, a separate source told Reuters. The status of that bid, however, was unclear.

JBS might only be able to bid between $19 to $20 a share as it struggles to raise more financing, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Private equity firm Blackstone Group LPis involved in JBS’s pursuit of Sara Lee, a separate source previously said. Under one scenario, Blackstone would acquire Sara Lee’s beverage unit if the Brazilian meat company’s bid succeeds, the source said.

Sara Lee has said it would seriously consider a bid of roughly $20 per share to continue talks with a suitor, a separate source familiar with the situation previously said.

Sara Lee declined to comment.

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