I grew up within 5 minutes of a Hostess/Wonder Bread factory and one of my enduring childhood memories was going to the factory store with mom on the discount day (I think it used to be Wednesday) when the snack cakes were all on sale. The excitement was unbearable as we approached the factory and the wonderful smells of the bakery overwhelmed once you were within a quarter mile of the factory store parking lot.
Hostess Brands has filed for Chapter 11 again, after previously filing for bankruptcy just three years ago. Courtney Donohoe, from Bloomberg news, points out, with her very cute lisp, that the combination of a weak economy, unionized workforce, heavy pension obligations and competition has done Hostess in. The brands were owned by private equity firm Ripplewood Capital Partners. Reportedly, Hostess Brands will continue to operate in Chapter 11, with $75M in financing commitments from Silverpoint Capital.
While very unhealthy, the iconic brand portfolio of Twinkies, HoHos, Suzy Q’s, Donettes, Fruit Pie, Ding Dongs, SnoBalls, and Zingers surely have tremendous brand equity. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a bid from Kraft (KFT), PepsiCo (PEP), or Berkshire Hathaway (BRK/B).
Good luck to Hostess! If there are going to be tremendously unhealthy snack foods around that we indulged in as kids, the world is a better place if Hostess is one of them.