Mexican food giant Grupo Bimbo could agree a deal to buy Sara Lee’s North American bakery business this week.

According to the Bloomberg news agency, Sara Lee is nearing a deal to sell the unit to Bimbo for US$900m to $1bn.

The report, published today (8 November), said Sara Lee had been hoping for more than $1.5bn when it first sought buyers for the business earlier this year. In July, rumours swirled that Sara Lee had appointed banking advisors to set out the options for the business.

Analysts have supported the idea of a sale of Sara Lee’s North American bakery operations. One analyst told just-food in July that the unit had become Sara Lee’s “achilles heel”.

An acquisition would boost Bimbo’s sales in the US, where it already has a significant presence in the US bakery sector following its acquisition of George Weston Ltd’s fresh bread and baked goods business last year.

Officials at Bimbo and Sara Lee could not be reached for immediate comment. The company is due to publish its first-quarter results on Wednesday.