Food giant Sara Lee (SLE) saw its shares surge over 18% in premarket trading Monday after the New York Post reported the company turned down a $12 billion buyout offer from private-equity company KKR & Co. (KKR), citing unnamed sources.
Sara Lee is conducting a search to hire a permanent successor to its highly regarded CEO, Brenda Barnes, the report added. It is also looking to sell its north American bakery business for an estimated $1 billion. It may then be in a stronger position to split its American and international businesses, or put itself up for sale.
However, according to the Post, some analysts believe that turning down the August offer, which coincided with Barnes's departure due to health concerns, might be a missed opportunity, and that restructuring would be harder. Sara Lee's revenues suffered during the recession as it had to lower prices and compete with private labels.