* Gordian hired to help preserve jobs, workers' benefits
* Bakery union intends to hold direct talks with buyers
NEW YORK Jan 20 The union and pension fund for
Hostess Brands Inc has hired Gordian Group, an
investment bank specializing in distressed cases, to help
preserve jobs and workers' benefits at the bankrupt maker of
Twinkies snack cakes as Hostess negotiates with buyers.
New York-based Gordian, which has no institutional loyalties
to funds or bondholders in Hostess, will provide conflict-free
advice for the welfare of the company's workers, The Bakery and
Confectionery Union and Industry International Pension Fund
(Bakers Fund) said.
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.
In a separate announcement earlier this month, Hostess said
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
The Bakers Fund said it intended to hold direct discussions
with the bidders for Hostess and had chosen Gordian to advise it
on the basis of the investment bank's track record in distressed
"The Bakers are here to work with bidders in any way as our
sole goal is to maximize jobs and pension benefits for our
members," said David Durkee, who is chairman of the Bakers Fund.
"We are looking to support and work with well-capitalized
bidders," said Durkee, also President of the Bakery,
Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International
Hostess, maker of the iconic Twinkies and Ding Dongs,
expects to announce by Jan. 25 a so-called stalking horse bidder
that would set a baseline for an auction and guarantee a buyer,
said 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.
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. It had also bid for Hostess'
bread business but lost out to Flowers in the race to become the
The auction is being run by Joshua Scherer of Perella