Sara Lee is emerging as front runner in the race to acquire biscuit manufacturer Nabisco in a bid to boost its flagging food division. The company's third quarter earnings showed its food arm to be a major drag on profitability. Food sales rose 4% to $1.2bn, but profits fell 43% to $53m as it restructured its packaged meat businesses after various product recalls. Performance in Sara Lee's other divisions ­ tea and coffee, household and body care, clothes and foodservice ­ boosted overall profits for the quarter, which took a 7% rise to $259m. Sara Lee is also said to be in talks with rival Keebler Foods. {{NEWS }}