Flowers said to win Hostess Brands after no competing offers

Bloomberg NewsFebruary 28, 2013 

Flowers Foods, maker of packaged bakery foods, won the bidding for the majority of the bread-making business of Hostess Brands, including its Wonder bread brand, a person familiar with the situation said.

Flowers, based in Thomasville, Ga., will pay about $360 million for Hostess's Wonder, Butternut, Home Pride, Merita and Nature's Pride brands, 20 bread plants, 38 depots and other assets, after no other competing offers were submitted. Thurday's planned auction will be canceled.

The auction for the Beefsteaks bread brand will go forward Thursday after the rye bread brand received an offer from Grupo Bimbo to challenge Flowers' $30 million bid, according to the person familiar with the situation, who requested not to be identified as the talks are private.

Keith Hancock, a spokesman for Flowers, didn't immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the auction. David Margulies, a spokesman for Bimbo, declined to comment on whether the company had made an offer for the Beefsteaks brand.

Flowers, established in 1919, produces and markets packaged baked goods for retail and food-service customers. The company's top brands are Nature's Own and Tastykake.

Hostess, founded in 1930,

is liquidating after failing to reach an agreement with striking bakers on concessions to help the company emerge from its second bankruptcy. Auctions for other assets will be held on March 13 and March 15.

Previously known as Interstate Bakeries Corp., Hostess left an earlier bankruptcy in 2009 under the control of buyout firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC and lenders. The company, based in Irving, Texas, entered bankruptcy again in January 2012.

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