Ownership

Twinkies Maker Hostess to Go Public Under New Owner

Hostess Brands LLC, the maker of Twinkies and Ding Dongs, said an affiliate of private equity firm Gores Group will buy the company in a $725 million deal and take it public.

Hostess, founded in 1919, was picked up from bankruptcy in 2013 by private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC and consumer industry investor C. Dean Metropoulos for $410 million.

The company's products, particularly the golden, cream-filled Twinkies cakes, are ingrained in American pop culture and have long been packed in children's lunch boxes.

The Kansas City-based company is expected to have an enterprise value of about $2.3 billion when it is listed.

As part of the deal, Gores Holdings Inc., set up by the Gores Group to make acquisitions and other deals, will pay $375 million in cash to Hostess shareholders.

Other investors, including Gores Group Chief Executive Alec Gores and Metropoulos, have committed $350 million through a private placement.

Apollo and Metropoulos, expect to hold a combined stake of about 42 percent in Gores Holdings upon completion of the deal.

Metropoulos will remain executive chairman of Hostess, and William Toler will continue as chief executive.

Hostess, which has filed for bankruptcy twice in its nearly century-old history, generated sales of about $650 million in the 12 months ended May 31.

Reuters reported in July last year that the company had scrapped plans for a sale in favor of an initial public offering.

"We have evaluated a number of potential acquisitions for Gores Holdings and believe this transaction offers a superior option for our stockholders," Gores Group Chief Executive Alec Gores said in a statement.

Gores Group owns stakes in companies such as UK-based bread maker Hovis.

The Hostess deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016.

Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Moelis & Co. and Morgan Stanley were financial advisers to Gores Holdings, while Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP was the legal adviser.

Rothschild & Co., Credit Suisse and Perella Weinberg Partners were M&A advisers to Hostess. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius was legal adviser to Apollo.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison was legal adviser and UBS acted as financial adviser to C. Dean Metropoulos and his family.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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