NEW YORK, NY – Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York approved the sale of Hostess bakery products today, including Twinkies and Wonderbread, for a total of $800 million.
Among the companies buying the Hostess brand is a joint venture between Apollo Global Management, of the Hardees and Carl’s Jr franchises, and Metropoulos & Co, owner of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. The two companies are buying Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, the famous Twinkie, and a variety of other cakes for a total of $410 million. This is good news for crème-filled pastry fans: the two firms say they hope to get Hostess bakery products back on the shelves by this summer.
Apollo made the bid on March 11th, teaming with Dean Metropoulos, a veteran of the food executive world. Metropoulos intends to waste no time marketing the products, mentioning comedians Zach Galifanakis and Will Ferrell as potential spokesman for the new line.
Flower Foods, the makers of Tastykakes products, have bought Wonder Bread and several other Hostess bread brands for $360 million. Mexico-based company Grupo Bimbo bought the Beefsteak rye-bread brand for $31.9 million.
Another hearing, scheduled tentatively for April 9th, will decide if the maker of Little Debbie snack cakes McKee Foods will be able to purchase other brands of Hostess bakery products, such as Devil Dogs and Yodels.
Hostess Brands, which began in 1930 as Interstate Bakeries Corporation, has been having financial difficulties since 2004. However, after having been beset last year by a strike in November 2011 by The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTWGM), Hostess announced it was ceasing all plant operations and laying off over 18,000 employees. Since the company halted operations, Hostess has begun the process of liquidating approximately 30 brands and 36 bakeries. According to Hostess, 29 of those bakeries are now sold.
BCTWGM was the company’s second largest union, representing more than 6,000 Hostess bakery employees. Many of those employees, according to Metropoulos spokesman Mark Semer, could possibly come to work for the new companies.