Andy Wagar loaded up on Twinkies, Ho Hos and cupcakes in Bellingham, Wash., on Nov. 16 after Hostess moved to liquidate.

Philip A. Dwyer, Bellingham Herald

Bids roll in for Hostess cake brands

  • Article by: PETER WHORISKEY
  • Washington Post
  • January 24, 2013 - 6:48 PM

The last Twinkies rolled out of Hostess factories in November. But the iconic brand appears to be making a comeback.

Eleven companies have submitted bids to acquire the Hostess cake brands, which include Twinkies, out of the bankruptcy process, according to court documents filed this month. The number of bidders indicates a robust interest in reviving the snacks.

"Somebody's going to make Twinkies -- that's not a concern," according to a source close to the negotiations. "The question is who and how."

A winner could be announced as early as next week, although the process could drag on in bankruptcy court in New York much longer.

Hostess Brands announced Nov. 16 that it would wind down its operations, closing 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores throughout the United States.

More than 18,000 people lost their jobs.

The announcement set off a wave of nostalgia for the tubular yellow-cake treats and propelled the sales of Twinkies, with consumers emptying shelves and scavengers seeking to sell them for hundreds of dollars on eBay.

Reportedly among the leading bidders is C. Dean Metropoulos and Co., a private equity firm that also owns Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Separately, Hostess is also selling off its bread business, including Nature's Pride and Wonder, which attracted 13 bidders.

Nearly $1 billion in sales

The Hostess cake business -- also including Donettes, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos -- had nearly $1 billion in sales last year, according to figures from SymphonyIRI Infoscan, which does not include sales at Wal-Marts.

And though Twinkies have dominated coverage of the company's demise, Hostess actually sold many more doughnuts and cupcakes. Twinkies sales amounted to $73.7 million, according to the figures.

The bakeries where the cakes are made are likely to be acquired by the bidders, a source said, because there is a shortage of such facilities. Twinkies were baked at Hostess plants in Columbus, Ga.; Emporia, Kan.; Ogden, Utah; Schiller Park, Ill.; Seattle; and Wayne, N.J.

But the return of Twinkies and other brands does not mean the company's former employees will regain their jobs.

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