Sara Lee Corp.'s board is considering the possibility of breaking up the company while it waits for a response from potential purchaser JBS SA of Brazil, which has yet to present a higher bid since its mid-December $17.50-per-share offer.

The board is focusing on a spinoff of its meat or coffee business as one possible avenue and plans to finalize a decision by the end of the month. According to sources, the stalled negotiations between Sara Lee and JBS have affected Sara Lee's search for a new CEO. Former CEO Brenda Barnes resigned last year for health reasons and Marcel Smits has been serving as the company's interim CEO.


According to analysts, JBS may still come back with a higher bid, as the purchase of Sara Lee's meat business in particular would help JBS expand its own business beyond Latin America.