Sara Lee “rejects JBS takeover offer”

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 21st December 2010

US food group Sara Lee is understood to have rejected a takeover offer for its US business from Brazilian meat giant JBS, who also own Swift Australia, due to a disagreement over price.

Sara Lee’s management has been in talks to sell the business to JBS for a few months, Bloomberg reported today (20 December). However, the bakery giant has turned down an offer from JBS, deeming it “too low”.

It is understood the bid was less than Sara Lee’s intraday high of $17.62 on 17 December, when the Wall Street Journal reported the companies were in talks. The stock closed at $17.26 that day; at that price, Sara Lee was valued at $11bn.

The situation, however, remains fluid, sources told the publication, with Sara Lee “considering other options” for the company.

The future of Sara Lee has been in question for some months. The firm sold off its North American fresh bakery operations to Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo in a deal worth $959m last month.

The sale followed months of speculation over Sara Lee’s domestic bread arm and the company said the sale meant it could focus on its protein and coffee operations.

Australian meat pie giant Patties last week rejected speculation that it plans to buy the company’s Australian bakery and frozen foods operations.