JBS is understood to be preparing a second bid for Sara Lee, as a newly-formed consortium of private-equity firms also considers an offer for the US food group.

The Brazil-based meat processor is said to be evaluating a revised takeover bid for Sara Lee, Bloomberg reported today (10 January). In the week before Christmas, it was reported that Sara Lee had rejected a takeover bid from JBS due to a disagreement over price.

According to reports, the US firm is hoping JBS returns with a higher proposal. It is understood the initial 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, the company was valued at $11bn.

However, while JBS prepares a second bid, four private-equity firms are believed to have formed a consortium and are said to be exploring a bid for Sara Lee.

Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos & Co. which acquired Pabst Brewing Co. last year, have joined with Bain Capital and TPG Capital, the WSJ reported today. The group recently met with advisers for Sara Lee, the publication noted.

Last year, Sara Lee turned down takeover offers by Apollo and another private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

However, while takeover speculation swirls around Sara Lee, it is said to be considering splitting its processed meats and coffee operations into two companies in a bid to make it easier to sell the firm.

Sara Lee stock closed at $17.43 Friday.