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.

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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.