TEXT - S&P says Flowers Foods ratings unaffected by Hostess bids

Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:08pm EST

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Jan 6 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that its ratings and outlook on Thomasville, Ga.-based Flowers Foods Inc. (BBB-/Stable/--) remain unchanged following the company's recent announcement that it has signed two asset purchase agreements to acquire certain brands and assets of Hostess Brands Inc. The agreements provide for the purchase by Flowers of the Wonder, Nature's Pride, Merita, Home Pride, Butternut, and Beefsteak brands, along with 20 bakeries and 38 depots, for a total purchase price of $390 million. The transactions are subject to a court-approved bankruptcy process, and if approved by the court, would then be subject to a competitive auction process. If Flowers emerges as the winning bidder, it is our understanding that the transaction will be funded with cash, committed credit facilities, and new debt. While financial information regarding the transaction is not yet available, we believe pro forma adjusted leverage would increase above 3x over the very near term. However, we expect the company would be able to reduce leverage to 2.5x or below during our ratings outlook horizon. We will continue to evaluate any impact on the ratings as more information becomes available.

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