Hostess announces stalking-horse bidders for bread brands

Most of bread business, including Wonder, may go to Flowers Foods for $360 million; other breads, snacks await bidders

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hostess Brands has chosen a stalking-horse bidder for its bread business, the bankrupt baking company said.

Hostess, which declared bankruptcy in November 2012 following a long standoff with one of its labor unions, said it had chosen Flowers Foods as the stalking-horse bidder; the company plans to solicit bids from other companies as well.

The proposed sale of nearly $360 million includes the Butternut, Home Pride, Merita, Nature's Pride and Wonder brands, while remaining bread brands and the company's snack business would be sold separately. The company also selected Flowers as a stalking-horse bidder for the Beefsteak bread business, for $30 million.

"We are pleased with the Flowers offers and look forward to a robust auction process that will allow these iconic brands to continue and to maximize value for all the company's stakeholders," Hostess chairman and CEO Gregory Rayburn said. "We also continue to negotiate with parties interested in purchasing our snack cake business and remaining bread brands, and expect to select additional stalking-horse bidders as soon as reasonably practicable."

Hostess has requested authorization to proceed with the auction from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, with the Flowers proposals as the stalking-horse bids, as long as it receives additional qualified bids.

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