Hostess Chooses Stalking Horse Bidder

On Friday, bankrupt baker Hostess Brands announced that it has chosen Flowers Foods (NYSE: FLO  ) to serve as "stalking horse" bidder for the majority of its bread brands, including Butternut, Home Pride, Merita, Nature's Pride, and, of course, Wonder Bread.

For the named brands, plus 20 bakers, 38 depots, and other assets, Flowers is willing to pay $355 million, plus a possible $5 million for certain license rights, as well as $30 million for the Beefsteak brand. Based on this proposal, Hostess has petitioned the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York for permission to proceed with an auction using Flowers' bids as the opening bids -- hoping to attract even higher offers from other bidders who may emerge.

Hostess has yet to name a stalking horse bidder for its snack-cake businesses, including Twinkies, and other brands, but it says it expects to choose bidders for these other assets "as soon as reasonably practicable."

In the meantime, the court will hold a hearing to consider Hostess' petition regarding the breads business on Jan. 25. If all goes well, an auction would take place on Feb. 28, and the court would authorize sale to the winning bidder on March 5.


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