Ottawa Citizen

Wal-mart pos­si­bly among Host­ess bid­ders

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NEW YORK • Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co. are among the bid­ders for as­sets be­ing sold by Host­ess Brands Inc., the bank­rupt maker of Won­der bread and Twinkies, said a per­son fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.

There are about two dozen bid­ders, said the per­son, who asked not to be named be­cause the process is con­fi­den­tial.

Last month, fi­nan­cial ad­viser Joshua Scherer of Perella Wein­berg Part­ners LP said the liq­ui­da­tion sale may gen­er­ate about $1 bil­lion.

A few of the bids are for all the as­sets, some are for just the cakes or breads busi­nesses, and oth­ers are in­ter­ested in in­di­vid­ual Host­ess plants or prod­ucts, ac­cord­ing to the per­son. Other first-round bid­ders in­clude Grupo Bimbo SAB and Al­pha Bak­ing Co., the per­son said.

The 82-year-old maker of Host­ess Cup­cakes, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos said last month that it would liq­ui­date and fire more than 18,000 work­ers af­ter fail­ing to reach agree­ment with its strik­ing bak­ers’ union on con­ces­sions to help it emerge from its sec­ond bank­ruptcy. Changes in Amer­i­can di­ets led to years of de­clin­ing sales at Host­ess, while in­gre­di­ent costs and labour ex­penses climbed.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Host­ess, Wal-Mart, Kroger, Al­pha Bak­ing and Bimbo de­clined to com­ment on the auc­tion process. C. Dean Metropou­los & Co., the pri­vate-eq­uity firm that owns Pabst Brew­ing Co., planned to sub­mit a bid, Daren Metropou­los, a prin­ci­pal at the Greenwich, Conn.based firm, said this week. He didn’t re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

A stand­off with strik­ing union work­ers trig­gered liq­ui­da­tion auc­tions of Host­ess’s brands, recipes, plants and other as­sets. The Bak­ery Con­fec­tionery To­bacco Work­ers and Grain Millers In­ter­na­tional Union went on strike Nov. 9 af­ter U.S. Bank­ruptcy Judge Robert Drain im­posed con­tract con­ces­sions op­posed by more than 90 per cent of the union’s mem­bers. The union rep­re­sents more than 5,000 Host­ess work­ers.

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