US natural and organic meat products manufacturer Applegate Farms is reportedly up for sale.

Citing unnamed sources, The Wall Street Journal said today (6 February) Goldman Sachs had been hired to contact possible interested buyers.

The sources told the WSJ Applegate could attract offers of around US$500m.

Officials representing Applegate could not be reached for immediate comment.

Applegate, which supplies natural and organic meat products, was set up in 1987. Founder Stephen McDonnell is still the company’s CEO and the majority shareholder.

On his LinkedIn page, McDonnell describes Applegate as “a leading producer of organic and natural meats and cheeses sold in supermarkets and natural food stores throughout the United States”.

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A sale would be the latest deal for a protein-based company in the US. Recent notable transactions include Tyson Foods’ US$7.7bn purchase of Hillshire Brands last year.

Natural and organic companies have also attracted interest in other categories, with some fetching hefty multiples. In September, General Mills struck a deal to buy US natural and organic food firm Annie’s for $820m, a price tag analysts said valued the business at over 27 times its EBITDA.