Talk of a Sara Lee takeover is heating up again this morning, with several news outlets reporting additional interest in the corporation, as well as a possible new purchase proposal by Brazilian meat company JBS S.A.

The Wall Street Journal cites sources who say there is interest in a purchase of Sara Lee Corp. by private-equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC, investor C. Dean Metropoulos and a group of investors.

WSJ sources say the group has met with Sara Lee's advisers in recent weeks to discuss a possible deal. Apollo and, separately, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., had approached Sara Lee last year about a buyout, but the company had decided against a sale, the people said. Click here to read more details in the Wall Street Journal's story.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg News is reporting that JBS executives are traveling to the U.S. this week to help prevent its company's takeover efforts from collapsing, according to sources with knowledge of the matter. JBS offered about $17.50 a share for Sara Lee in mid-December, valuing Sara Lee at about $11 billion, the sources told Bloomberg. Read the full Bloomberg article by clicking here.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, Chicago Sun-Times, Bloomberg News



Columbus Meat recall expanded

A Chicago company has expanded a recall to include an additional 580 pounds of beef patties because of possible E. coli contamination.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture said Friday that Columbus Meat took the action after state inspectors discovered the same batch of beef was used to produce patties on more than one day.

Patties produced on Dec. 29, Dec. 30, Dec. 31 and Jan. 3 have been added to the recall. It originally included 200 pounds of ground beef made on Dec. 27.

The agriculture department says a sample of the patties tested positive for a strain of E. coli that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and, in the most severe cases, kidney failure.

The company has received no reports of illness linked to the patties.

Source: WGIL Radio, Galesburg, Ill., The Associated Press



European dioxin scare spreads to meat

According to a report from the United Kingdom’s Telegraph Media Group, Germany's poisoned eggs scare has spread to chickens, with investigators now reporting increased levels of cancer-causing dioxin in meat samples.

The Telegraph reported Sunday that three chickens – out of 15 samples of chicken, turkey and pork sent to the EU Commission – showed a dioxin concentration twice as high as the legal level.

A spokesman told the Telegraph that the chicken meat had not been sold and that eating it “would not have been harmful in the short term since the contamination levels were so low.”

The meat scare follows last week’s admission that tainted eggs from chickens that ate feed contaminated with dioxins had entered the UK food chain. Nearly 5,000 farms have been shut across Germany and thousands of chickens culled after feed from a chemical company near Hamburg was tainted. To read more about this story on the Telegraph’s site, click here.

Source: Telegraph Media Group