Snacks & Candy

Apollo, Metropoulos Eyeing Bid for Hostess Snack Brands

Has experience with struggling food brands, reputation for cost cutting

NEW YORK -- Leon Black's private-equity firm Apollo Global Management and veteran food executive C. Dean Metropoulos have teamed up to bid for bankrupt Hostess Brands' snacks business, The New York Post said.

Hostess is in the process of selling off its iconic brands and liquidating the company after a crippling strike by its bakers union forced it to shut down in November. The Irving, Texas-based company plans to hold separate auctions for its bread and snack businesses.

Hostess is just a few days away from choosing a stalking-horse bidder for its bread brands, including Wonder Bread, Nature's Pride and Butternut. The snack business will follow suit later, the Post said.

The snack cake company said last month it has seen keen interest in its brands from potential buyers, including Grupo Bimbo, Flowers Foods, Wal-Mart and Kroger. Flowers, the Thomasville, Ga.-based maker of Tastykakes and Nature's Own baked goods, has often been cited by analysts as a possible bidder for Hostess assets, as has Mexican baker Grupo Bimbo.

In the last couple of years, New York City-based Apollo and Metropoulos have also explored bids for Morningstar Foods and Sara Lee, although neither resulted in a deal.

Metropoulos, who paid $250 million for Pabst Brewing in 2011, has experience with struggling food brands, the report said. He has a track record of making money for his investors and a reputation for slashing costs. In 2001, he teamed with fellow PE firm Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst to buy bankrupt Pinnacle Foods, owner of Swanson frozen dinners and Vlasic pickles.

Apollo and Metropoulos declined comment to the newspaper.

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