Twinkies could be back on sale in stores by the summer after manufacturer Hostess was bought in a $410 million deal.
The snacks, along with other Hostess products including Wonder bread, have not been produced since November when the company filed for liquidation following strike action by the Bakery Workers union.
The company announced to the bankruptcy court on Monday that a winning bid for Hostess had been tabled by private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co.
The winning bid also secured five of the company’s closed bakeries as part of the bid.
Hostess had forewarned the bankruptcy court in December that it was narrowing down the bids it received for its brands and expected to sell off its snack cakes and bread to separate buyers.
The company said then that a likely suitor had emerged for the brand, which includes Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, along with Dolly Madison cakes, which includes Coffee Cakes and Zingers, said Joshua Scherer of Perella Weinberg Partners.
They said at the time that another viable bid had been made for Drake’s cakes, which includes Devil Dogs, Funny Bones and Yodels. That bidder was also said to want to buy the Drake’s plant in Wayne, N.J., which Joshua Scherer said is the country’s only kosher bakery plant.
It had been predicted that the auctions could be very active for some of the brands, given the number of parties that had expressed interest.
About 30 plants were also likely to be sold with the brands with six plants, several warehouses and a fleet of trucks likely to be closed or scrapped.
Hostess hired a firm Hilco to act as a sales agent for those additional assets; the firm also gave Hostess a $30 million loan to maintain operations during its liquidation, which was expected to take about a year.
Hostess, based in Irving, Texas, had said potential buyers included major packaged food companies and national retailers, such as big-box retailers and supermarkets.
The company stressed it needs to move quickly in the sale process to capitalize on the outpouring of nostalgia sparked by its bankruptcy.
To begin winding down its operations in November, Hostess had said it would retain about 3,000 workers to shutter plants and perform other tasks.
The following month, an attorney for Hostess said in court that figure was down to about 1,100 employees.
The liquidation of Hostess ultimately means the loss of about 18,000 jobs, not including those shed in the years leading to the company’s failure.
The company’s demise came after years of management turmoil and turnover, with workers saying the company failed to invest in updating its snack cakes and breads.
Hostess filed for its second Chapter 11 bankruptcy in less than a decade last January, citing steep costs associated with its unionized workforce.
The company was able to reach a new contract agreement with its largest union, the Teamsters, but the bakers union rejected the terms and went on strike in early November. A week later, Hostess announced its plans to liquidate, saying the strike crippled its ability to maintain normal production.
Although Hostess sales have been declining over the years, they had still been clocking in at between $2.3 billion and $2.4 billion a year.