Flowers Foods deal to buy area Hostess facilities going before Justice Department

May 9 2013 - 11:53am

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OGDEN -- Georgia-based Flowers Foods Inc. is moving forward in its attempts to purchase the old Hostess bread making facilities in the area.

The company, which makes the Nature's Own and Tastykake brands, hopes to close the transaction by the second half of the year, spokesman Keith Hancock said.

However, the company still needs to present the bid to the U.S. Department of Justice for a regulatory review, to see if it violates any anti-trust laws.

"Keys haven't gone from one hand to another," Hancock said.

Last November, Hostess Brands Inc. announced it would file for bankruptcy. Soon after, the baked-goods company shuttered plants, warehouses and retail shops that produced and sold products such as Wonder Bread and Twinkies.

Across the country, the closure affected 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores. In all about 18,500 jobs were lost.

Of those jobs, about 600 employees in Utah, about half of whom were in Ogden, found themselves out of work.

If Flowers does purchase the Ogden properties, there is no word yet how many, if any, jobs will return to the area.

"At this point, it would be premature for us to even go there because we don't even know yet," Hancock said.

In the meantime, Flowers moves forward with it purchase.

In March, Flowers Foods Inc. announced that it signed two asset purchase agreements with Hostess as the stalking horse bidder.

According to the company, Flowers looks to purchase the Wonder, Nature's Pride, Merita, Home Pride and Butternut bread brands, along with 20 bakeries and about 38 depots across the country for $360 million.

Additionally, Flowers looked to buy the Beefsteak brand for $30 million, through the second agreement.

Grupo Bimbo, out of Mexico, won a bid to buy the Beefsteak bread brand for $31.9 million in February.

"It was a big hurdle to get the bankruptcy court approval," Hancock said.

While Flowers Foods made purchases on the bread side, Apollo and Metropoulos may resurrect the Twinkie.

In March, Apollo and Metropoulos agreed to pay $410 million to purchase five bakeries, equipment and several snack cake brands such as Hostess and Dolly Madison products.

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