Hostess bakery in Tulsa part of bid by Flowers Foods
BY KYLE ARNOLD World Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
1/15/13 at 7:05 AM
The Hostess bakery in Tulsa could be revived under a new owner after Flowers Foods Inc. made a bid for most of the bankrupt company's bread brands and 20 bakeries nationwide.
Flowers Foods, based in Thomasville, Ga., announced Friday it had agreed with Hostess Brands Inc. to buy its brands, bakeries and 38 depots for $360 million.
But the deal would not include retention of the 180 workers at the Tulsa bakery, 1111 S. Sheridan Road, who lost their jobs in November, nor those at 13 other facilities across the country.
Flowers Foods' brands include Nature's Own and Tastykake.
Irving, Texas-based Hostess has been in bankruptcy for more than a year. It shut down 33 bakeries in December after a contentious fight with union employees who would not agree to wage and benefits cuts.
Hostess owns iconic brands such as Wonder Bread and Hostess snack foods, including Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and Suzy Q's.
Those and other brands such as Nature's Pride, Merita and Home Pride would once again have a producer if the deal goes through.
Since the closure, Hostess products have disappeared from store shelves while a bankruptcy judge and lawyers try to break up and sell Hostess Brands' assets and settle more than $860 million in debts.
Flowers Foods spokesman Keith Hancock said the $360 million bid is just the first of many steps that the company would need to go through to acquire the Hostess brands and facilities.
"The bid would have to be approved by the bankruptcy judge, and then it would set a price for other companies to try to match," Hancock said.
The deal excludes any debts or contracts formerly connected with Hostess Brands, including union labor deals and employee contracts.
A labor deal between Hostess and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union became a major point of contention that led to the eventual closing of the plants in November.
After negotiating deals with Teamsters and other unions, Hostess was asking bakery union employees to take an 8 percent pay cut and other reductions to retirement and health benefits, and to accept changes to the company's overtime policy.
Union workers said they had already made sacrifices under previous Hostess bankruptcies.
Workers said they lost faith that Hostess executives could successfully operate the company.
Flower Foods does not have any bakeries in Oklahoma but runs a distribution center in Perry, a town on Interstate 35 northwest of Stillwater. Its nearest bakeries are in Texas, Hancock said.
Hostess' 97,000-square-foot Tulsa bakery has operated in Tulsa since 1955. The facility has changed ownership several times, with Wonder Bread being sold and split off among several groups.
The facility sits on nearly 8 acres and is valued at $1.8 million, according to records at the Tulsa County Assessor's Office.
Hostess Bakeries to be sold under agreement with Flowers Foods Inc.
Original Print Headline: Tulsa bakery part of Hostess deal
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Kyle Arnold 918-581-8380