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Published: Thursday, 3/21/2013

Hostess brands sale approved by judge

BLADE STAFF AND NEWS REPORTS

NEW YORK — A bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of Wonder and other bread brands to Flowers Foods. The deal includes the former Hostess bakery in Northwood.

Hostess Brands Inc. is selling its bread and other brands after shutting down last year.

Under the deal the Georgia company will get a total 20 bread plants, 38 depots, and the Wonder, Butternut, Home Pride, Merita, and Nature's Pride brands. The deal includes the Northwood bakery, but not the former Hostess bakery in Defiance.

Judge Robert Drain of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York also approved the sale of the Hostess Twinkies brand to a pair of investment firms.

Hostess is selling the spongy yellow cakes, along with other snacks including Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, to Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. for $410 million.

Metropoulos, which owns Pabst beer, has said it hopes to have the cakes back on shelves by this summer.

The sale of Beefsteak, a regional bread brand, to Grupo Bimbo for $31.9 million was also approved.

Union leaders who represented workers at Hostess facilities hope the new owners will hire the workers back.

"... New ownership has signaled a clear intent to accelerate this process and return products back to the shelves as soon as this summer," said David B. Durkee, International President of The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union. "We share the enthusiasm, energy and passions exhibited by new ownership, and believe our highly-motivated and skilled workforce will serve as indispensable partners in the seamless re-opening of factories.

"In this way, new ownership can proudly demonstrate their commitment to preserving middle-class jobs while delivering on their promise to consumers.”

Hostess shuttered its factories in late November following a strike by the union. The company had been struggling financially for years.



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