| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Jan 16 Mexico's Grupo Bimbo
and a partnership between Apollo Global Management
and veteran food executive C. Dean Metropoulos are among
the leading candidates to buy Hostess Brands Inc's snack cake
brands, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Hostess, maker of the iconic Twinkies and Ding Dongs, would
like to announce by Jan. 25 a so-called stalking horse bidder
that would set a baseline for an auction and guarantee a buyer,
said two other people familiar with the matter.
The sale, which could raise around $400 million or more
according to one of the sources, is part of the company's
bankruptcy reorganization. Hostess decided to shut down its
business and liquidate after a strike by its bakers' union
crippled the 82-year-old company.
All of the sources declined to be identified as the process
is not public. Grupo Bimbo and Apollo declined to comment, while
a representative for Metropoulos was not immediately available
A spokesman for Hostess declined to comment on potential
bidders but said the company expects to name up to five more
stalking horses for its various assets.
Hostess said last week that Flowers Foods agreed to
pay $390 million for Hostess's Wonder and other bread brands,
including Nature's Pride and Butternut. That sale is still
subject to a court-supervised auction.
Hostess hopes to fetch more than that from the sale of its
cake brands, said one of the sources familiar with the process.
Grupo Bimbo, the world's largest bread maker, already has a
large U.S. presence with Entenmann's baked goods, Thomas'
English Muffins and Sara Lee bread.
Bimbo had also bid for Hostess' bread business but lost out
to Flowers in the race to become the opening bidder.
The auction is being run by Joshua Scherer of Perella
Weinberg Partners. A spokeswoman for Perella was not immediately
available for comment.