Buy-out house KKR is reportedly in talks to take US food manufacturer Del Monte Foods private.

The Financial Times reported that private-equity firm KKR has been discussing a deal with Del Monte Foods for several months and claimed agreement could be struck within weeks.

The two sides are reportedly discussing a price of about US$18.5 a share, which will value Del Monte Foods at close to $3.6bn.

According to the sources quoted in the report, it is not clear whether the sides would reach an agreement and a deal may not happen.

KKR bought out former Del Monte Foods owner RJR Nabisco in 1989 and then sold the canned-foods business to an investor group led by Merrill Lynch.

Shares in Del Monte Foods were up 1.92% at the market’s close yesterday to $22.24 a share.

The company is set to publish its second-quarter results on 2 December.