• Beverly Hills billionaire to take over Twinkies maker Hostess Brands, w

    From Union Destroyed Businesses@21:1/5 to All on Thu Jul 21 20:18:37 2016
    XPost: alt.business, sac.politics

    When Hostess announced plans to close down for good in late
    2012, it kicked off a run on Twinkies, Ding Dongs and the
    company’s other classic goodies, with fans fearful their
    favorite cream-filled cakes would soon be gone forever.

    Among the buyers were some of Beverly Hills billionaire Alec
    Gores’ five children.

    “Even my own kids were out trying to buy the last Twinkies,”
    said Gores, founder and chief executive of Beverly Hills private
    equity firm Gores Group. “It’s a big brand. It has big, iconic

    Now, it’s Gores himself who wants a piece of the sugary snack

    He and other investors are teaming up to buy Hostess Brands in a
    $2.3-billion deal, marking yet another twist in the ownership of
    the company – and adding another chapter to its unlikely
    comeback story.

    Hostess’ current owners, billionaire food magnate C. Dean
    Metropoulos and New York private equity firm Apollo Global
    Management, on Tuesday announced they would sell a controlling
    stake in the snack-cake maker to Gores Holdings, a shell
    corporation created in August with the express purpose of buying
    a company with growth prospects.

    The deal lets Hostess go public more quickly and easily compared
    with the traditional route of filing for an initial public

    Though Hostess will be its own public company after the deal,
    Gores Group, Apollo and Metropoulos will all own big stakes.
    Gores’ firm will control some of the company’s board seats and
    Metropoulos will serve as Hostess’ chairman.

    Gores Group created Gores Holdings in August, raising $375
    million in a public offering. Gores said the firm looked at
    about 30 companies before settling on Hostess as its acquisition

    He said the baking company – which has gone through a long list
    of owners over its nearly 100-year history, and went through
    bankruptcy twice in less than 10 years – is now a healthy, if
    not healthful, business, and one that still has plenty of upside.

    “It’s a very stable business that does as well in a bad economy
    as in a good one,” Gores said. “They have amazing margins, and
    they have room to grow. They could have gone public, but we were
    public already.”

    The company brought in revenue of $650 million in the 12 months
    ending in May, and posted gross earnings – before interest
    payments, taxes and a few other costs – of $220 million,
    according to a press release announcing the deal.

    He said Hostess can continue to grow sales by developing new
    products and expanding its product lines, such as in-store baked
    goods for grocery stores.

    Gores Holdings will buy Hostess for about $725 million in cash –
    $375 million raised in last year’s public offering, plus another
    $350 million in new cash from Gores, Metropoulos and other

    Between the cash, equity from Apollo and Metropoulos and about
    $1.2 billion in debt, the deal values Hostess at about $2.3
    billion, according to Gores Group and Apollo. The deal is
    expected to close this fall.

    Gores said Metropoulos’ continued involvement with the company
    was a big part of his interest in Hostess.

    Metropoulos has turned around struggling food and beverage
    companies before. In one recent deal, he acquired Pabst Brewing
    Co. for $250 million in 2010, then sold it in 2014 for a
    reported price of more than $700 million.

    “He’s a great operator,” Gores said of Metropoulos. “He’s by far
    one of the best in the world.”

    Under Apollo and Metropoulos’ ownership, Hostess slashed costs –
    and jobs – by increasing automation and changing how it
    distributes products.

    The company today has little resemblance to the Hostess that
    filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012, when it employed 18,500
    workers. The old firm operated dozens of bakeries and
    distribution centers, made bread and a wide range of other
    bakery products, had pricey labor and pension agreements with
    its workers and was pushed into liquidation after a bakery
    workers’ strike.

    Today’s hostess is much smaller, operating just three bakeries
    that make snack cakes almost exclusively, and is out from under
    the old company’s labor and pension agreements. It has fewer
    than 2,000 employees.

    Jim Prevor, a food industry analyst, said with those problems
    behind it, Hostess is well positioned to post steady revenue and

    Despite long-term trends toward healthier eating and away from
    the kind of sugary, preservative-heavy snacks that are Hostess’
    calling card, he said Twinkies, Ding Dongs and other Hostess
    treats still have huge name recognition and are must-have items
    for retailers.

    “The brands are really an entitlement to shelf space at every
    supermarket and convenience store in America,” he said. “The
    problems that company had in the past have nothing to do with
    the problems of the [snack food] category.”

    Though they’ll retain a big stake in Hostess, Apollo and
    Metropoulos have already made solid returns on their initial

    They bought the company’s snack-cake brands and operations for
    $409 million in 2013. Last year, they company took on more than
    $1 billion in new debt, with $905 million of that paid to
    Apollo, Metropoulous and their investors, according to a report
    from credit rating Moody’s.



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