Coffee and meat company Sara Lee Corp will this week weigh an offer from a group of private equity firms which values the company at up to $20 a share or nearly $13 billion, a source familiar with the situation said on Sunday.

If successful, the deal would be among the largest leveraged buyouts since the credit crisis.

Private equity firms have been sitting on mountains of cash to invest and have been waiting for credit markets and the economy to improve before striking large deals again.

U.S.-based Sara Lee, valued by analysts at about $12.5 billion, has been examining various options such as selling itself or splitting itself up into meat and beverage units.

Indications of interest in Sara Lee were due on Friday.

The private equity consortium of Apollo Global Management, Bain Capital and TPG Capital submitted a takeover offer for Sara Lee which values the company higher than its current $18.70 share price and up to $20, the source said.

It will likely face competition from Brazilian beef processor JBS, which along with a group of other companies, has arranged a financing package to bid for all or parts of Sara Lee, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Thursday.

Private equity giant Blackstone Group is involved in some capacity with JBS's pursuit of Sara Lee, a separate source familiar with the situation said on Sunday.

However, an expected rival offer has not as yet been made by JBS, the first source told Reuters.

Sara Lee is expected to have a board meeting on Thursday January 27 at which it will examine the bids, the source said.

The company had been expected to approve a plan to split the company at a board meeting by the end of January unless a compelling takeover bid emerges, a separate source familiar with the situation previously told Reuters.

Bloomberg earlier reported the price of the private equity consortium bid.

Analysts have said Sara Lee could fetch as much as $23 a share, or $14.7 billion, in a takeover. Shares of Sara Lee closed on Friday at $18.70 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Jessica Hall in Philadelphia and Megan Davies in New York; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe)