Grupo Bimbo: Hostess' Wonder Bread May Soon Come From Mexican Billionaires
Bimbo, as well as and Flowers Food, are in official talks, and Hostess may disclose the name of the bidders of the up-coming bankruptcy auction as soon as this week, according to The Wall Street Journal. That bread business—brands like Wonder Bread, Nature’s Pride and Butternut—could fetch around $350 million, a source familiar with the proceedings told The Journal. Meanwhile, the cake business, with iconic Hostess treats like Twinkies, is expected to be sold later this year.
Here’s how the sale of the bread business would work: As stalking-horse bidders, Bimbo and Flowers can make an initial bid for the assets. After that, others can make competing, larger bids, but stalking-horse bidders receive a break-up fee if they don’t wind up with the prize. The bread business would likely be split into two groups and sold that way, according to The Journal‘s source.
When the news that Hostess would liquidate, shutting down its 36 plants and selling its more than 30 brands, first broke, FORBES speculated that Bimbo would grow sweet on Hostess. Run by a Mexican billionaire family, Bimbo has flirted with Hostess in the past, and Bimbo’s acquisition of Sara Lee‘s U.S. bakery operations last year suggested that its appetite for U.S. expansion was hardly satiated. (Interestingly, soon after FORBES laid out that analysis, Hostess’ CEO made it a point to say that Bimbo was not a likely suitor.) Flowers Food also quickly surfaced as a candidate, as the company sought to find the necessary funding for an acquisition.
Wal-Mart and Kroger are also reportedly interested in the asset sale, though it’s unknown if they are interested in the bread or cake business. Each would likely make the brands available only in their stores. The sweets might make sense for other big packaged food companies, like Kraft Foods Group or Kellogg.
Hat tip: Forbes.com