UPDATE 1-Hostess picks stalking horse bidders for Drake's, bread brands
By Martinne Geller
Jan 28 (Reuters) - Hostess Brands Inc said on Monday it has selected stalking horse bidders for its Drake's cake business and additional bread brands that will net the bankrupt bakery company more than $56 million.
The announcement of the bidders comes as part of the company's bankruptcy reorganization.
McKee Foods, maker of Little Debbie snack cakes, is offering roughly $27 million for Drake's, which makes Devil Dogs, Ring Dings and Yodels.
United States Bakery Inc, also known as Franz Family Bakery, is expected to bid about the same amount for Hostess bread brands including Sweetheart, Eddy's, Standish Farms and Grandma Emilie's.
These "stalking horse bids" set baseline offers for the assets and are still subject to auctions.
Earlier this month, Hostess chose Flowers Foods Inc to start the bidding at $390 million for its bread brands including Wonder, Butternut, Home Pride, Merita and Nature's Pride.
Still outstanding is Hostess's iconic Twinkies brand. The company's lawyer said last week that Hostess was in advanced discussions with a number of parties for the remainder of its snack business, including Twinkies.
Hostess received court permission to wind down its 82-year-old business in November after a strike by a bakery union crippled its operations. The company is liquidating assets - everything from bakery brands to equipment to real estate.
McKee Foods, a privately held company based in Collegedale, Tennessee, is best-known for its Little Debbie cakes, which are named after the granddaughter of founders O.D. and Ruth McKee. The company currently offers more than 150 varieties of Little Debbie snacks.
With seven bakeries in the Northwest, Franz already produces breads, rolls and cookies under its own name as well as Holsum Hearth and Seattle International.
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