Private equity suitors want a slice of Sara Lee

TWO buyers are circling for the global food manufacturer Sara Lee.

The board of Sara Lee, the maker of cheesecakes, ice-cream, snacks and cereals, received a preliminary bid late last week from a group of buyout firms led by Apollo Global Management and including Bain Capital and TPG Capital.

The company is also on the radar of Brazil’s JBS and Blackstone, the private equity group.

It is weighing its options after previously rejecting takeover bids from JBS and buyout firms like Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

Sara Lee, which has been valued by analysts at around $12.5bn (£8bn), has been leaning toward a break-up, unless it receives a takeover offer high enough to compensate for the tax-free advantages of a split into two firms.

The firm’s share price rose yesterday, fuelled by the takeover speculation. Marcel Smits, the company’s finance officer, has been filling in as interim chief executive.