Almost four years after seeking bankruptcy protection under a barrage of labor issues and rapidly changing appetites, the maker of Twinkies and Ding Dongs will take the stage once again as a publicly traded company.
Hostess Brands, which first emerged in 1919 with the Hostess CupCake, has been shuffled between different owners since it sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for a second time in July 2012.
The company has kept its headquarters in Kansas City throughout the restructuring, which follow years of labor unrest and two bankruptcy filings.
Interstate Bakeries had slid downhill from a mid-1990s peak when it was the largest wholesale baker of bread and snack cakes in the United States. In fact, national brand recognition prompted the company to rename itself in 2009 as Hostess Brands Inc. But by 2012, the company had failed, bakery union contracts were severed and the brands disappeared from store shelves.
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Out of bankruptcy proceedings in 2013, Flowers Foods, a publicly owned baking company based in Georgia, paid $355 million to acquire 20 closed Hostess bread and bun bakeries. One of them is operating in Leawood.
Separately, the Metropoulos and Apollo Global investor partnership paid about $410 million to buy five of the former Hostess snack cake bakeries. It reopened four, including one in Emporia, Kan., which came back on line in mid 2013.
Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co., will sell the majority of company that is valued at about $2.3 billion.
The new owners, Gores Holdings, an acquisition company run by the private equity firm, The Gores Group, will put up $375 million in cash, the companies said Tuesday.
Gores CEO Alec Gores, Dean Metropoulos and others have committed an additional $350 million.
Metropoulos, who has helped to lead the bakery, will continue to do so as executive chairman. CEO William Toler will also remain as Hostess CEO.
Apollo and Metropoulos will hold a 42 percent combined stake when the deal is completed at some point, it is hoped, during the third quarter.
Hostess has cut costs and increased automation.
Last year, the company announced plans to shutter the suburban Chicago bakery where the Twinkie was invented and 400 jobs evaporated.
The credit rating for Hostess has been on the mend and last year the company posted revenue of about $650 million.