Hormel Foods has refused to be drawn into speculation it is in the late stages of talks to buy organic meat processor Applegate Farms.

Reuters, citing people familiar with the matter, said a deal for Applegate could be announced as early as next week, and could be worth between US$600m and $1bn.

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal said Goldman Sachs had been hired to contact possible interested buyers for Applegate Farms

In an email to just-food today (13 February), a spokesperson for Hormel said: “Our company does not comment on acquisitions.”

Officials at Applegate could be reached for comment at the time of press.