US consumer products group Sara Lee is on the verge of selling its Sara Lee Branded Apparel Europe division to the US investment fund Sun Capital according to French media reports.

The sale price is expected to be less than €500 million - just over a third of the €1.4 billion original asking price - a report in Les Echos says.

The division's brands include the French underwear label Dim as well as Wonderbra, Playtex and Gossard.

Sun Capital specialises in business turnarounds and so far this year has acquired Lee Cooper jeans and French refrigerated transport company Nexia.

Sara Lee Corp decided to sell its European apparel operations following a 'strategic review' of its business last summer.

The Chicago-based company wants to focus instead on its food, beverage and household products.

Earlier this month it said it was unlikely to sell its European apparel business in September as originally planned, although talks with potential buyers were in progress.

As well as putting its European apparel business on the block, Sara Lee wants to spin-off its $4.6 billion Branded Apparel Americas/Asia business, which includes such brands as Hanes underwear, Bali and Playtex bras and Champion activewear.