Sara Lee Corp. rose the most in two months in New York trading after the Wall Street Journal reported that the maker of Jimmy Dean breakfast foods and Ball Park hotdogs may sell itself to Brazilian meat processor JBS SA.
JBS, the world’s largest meat-processing company, made overtures to the Downers Grove, Illinois-based company and talks have been on and off for months, the newspaper said, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Sara Lee also may seek to sell its beverage and meat units, the WSJ said.
Sara Lee, whose sales surpassed $10 billion last year, is selling other divisions, such as its North American bakery unit, to concentrate on the faster-growing coffee and meats businesses. Interim Chief Executive Officer Marcel Smits has led the company since Brenda Barnes resigned four months ago to focus on her health.
Mike Cummins, a spokesman for Sara Lee, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. An e-mail to the investor relations director at Sao Paulo-based JBS wasn’t immediately returned.
Sara Lee rose 87 cents, or 5.3 percent, to $17.26 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The gain was the most since Oct. 4. JBS rose 1.5 percent to 7 reais.
Based on today’s trading, Sara Lee had a market value of about $11 billion. The company attracted interest from buyout firms including Apollo Global Management LLC and KKR & Co. this year, people with knowledge of the matter said in October.
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