Friday, November 16, 2012

Hostess Around the United States Shutting Down

What might be the last Twinkie in America — at least for a while — rolled off a factory line Friday morning. It was just like the millions that had come before it, golden, cream-filled empty calories, a monument to classic American junk food.

But it is likely to be the last under the current management. After not one but two bankruptcies, Hostess Brands, the beleaguered purveyor of Twinkies, Ho Hos, Sno Balls and Wonder bread, announced plans to wind down operations and sell off its brands.

Since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, Hostess has been trying to renegotiate its labor contracts in a bid to cut costs. But the talks fell apart, and last week one union went on strike.

The so-called liquidation will probably spell the end of Hostess, an 82-year-old company that has endured wars, countless diet fads and even an earlier Chapter 11 filing. Although the company could theoretically negotiate a last-minute deal with the union, Hostess is moving to shut factories and lay off a large majority of its 18,500 employees.

But Twinkies and the other well-known brands could eventually find new life under a different owner. As part of the process, Hostess is looking to auction off its assets, and suitors could find value in the portfolio.

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