LENEXA, KAN. — Shares of Hostess Brands, Inc. surged nearly 30% in mid-day trading on Aug. 25, eventually finishing 21.7% higher for the day, on news that the Lenexa-based snacks maker is exploring a sale after receiving takeover interest.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, Reuters said several companies have expressed interest in Hostess, including General Mills, Inc., Mondelez International, Inc., PepsiCo, Inc. and Hershey Co.
The sources also said Hostess has engaged investment bank Morgan Stanley for advice on handling negotiations.
Founded in 1930 and known for such brands as Twinkies, Ho-Hos and Ding Dongs, Hostess has twice filed for bankruptcy protection — in 2004 and 2012. In 2016, the company was acquired by Gores Holdings, Inc., a special purpose acquisition company sponsored by an affiliate of The Gores Group, LLC. At the time of that deal, funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC and C. Dean Metropoulos and family, including sons Daren Metropoulos and Evan Metropoulos, said they would receive approximately $522 million in cash for a majority stake in Hostess. The payment was to come from $375 million in cash from Gores Holdings Inc. and another $350 million that was raised in a private placement led by Alec Gores, chairman and chief executive officer of the Gores Group. Others participating in the private placement included institutional investors and affiliates of Gores, a Los Angeles-based private equity group. The Metropoulos and Apollo groups retained a 42% stake in Hostess.
The last time Hostess was on the block potential suitors mentioned included Post Foods, Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV, Flowers Foods and Aryzta.
Over the past several years Hostess has worked to diversify its portfolio beyond snack cakes, with the 2019 acquisition of Voortman Cookies Ltd. standing out as a highlight. The $320 million deal gave Hostess an entry point into the wafer and cookie segment. Hostess has spent the past few years integrating Voortman and has used the platform as a springboard to further growth.
In the six months ended June 30, Hostess Brands had net income of $70.78 million, equal to 53¢ per share on the common stock, up from $65.03 million, or 47¢ per share in the same period a year ago. Six-month revenues totaled $697.76 million, up from $672.52 million.
Total assets as of June 30 totaled $3.52 billion, with total liabilities listed at $1.67 billion.