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The Twinkie tale: Hostess set to survive overseas?

By Kacey Culliney , 12-Dec-2012
Last updated the 12-Dec-2012 at 12:12 GMT

Hostess Brands set for international markets?
Hostess Brands set for international markets?

Up-for-sale Hostess Brands has had strong interest from international firms looking to snap up its iconic brands, the company has said.

The Twinkies and Wonderbread-maker is now considering prospective bids, after a Letters of Interest deadline passed on Monday, December 10, with final bids set to come to court next month.

Hostess Brands’ spokesperson, Lance Ignon, told BakeryandSnacks.com that there had been a “substantial level of interest from regional, national and international companies”.

“These are international companies that have expressed interest in licensing the brands overseas,” Ignon said.

“There has been interest in all of Hostess’ assets – for its brands and operations,” he said.

He added that at this point, there is no guarantee all of the bakeries will be re-opened as bakeries as the sale of assets is unconditional.

A ‘safe’ international twist?

Matthew Hudak, research analyst for Euromonitor International, told this site that the “US popular culture brands” could work on an international scale.

“In some developing markets there has been a movement towards pre-packaged foods due to safety concerns, and in those areas the brands could be looked on kindly,” Hudak said.

“In particular, I think Wonderbread would be better going to an international buyer… This brand definitely needs a change of pace for it to work,” he said.

A private equity ‘would make sense’

Hudak said: “While a buy could come from any direction, a buy from a private equity firm would make sense.”

“It makes sense because Hostess Brands, in some areas, could use a turnaround,” he added.

“I would imagine a breakdown buy is on the cards, as Hostess is a very big company and you would need a lot of equity to buy it outright.”

The research analyst said that Grupo Bimbo was on the radar at first, but since its divestment of part of Sara Lee due to anti-trust issues, this is now an unlikely bidder.

Guessing ahead… 

Hudak gave BakeryandSnacks.com his predictions on the fate of Hostess Brands and its likeliest bidders.

No. 1 – Private Equity firm

No. 2 – McKee Foods

No. 3 – Flowers Foods through TastyKake

Last but not least - ‘The dark horse’ - Kellogg

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