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updated: 1/21/2013 7:29 AM

Hostess bakers union hires investment bank Gordian in asset sale

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Bloomberg News

The union and the pension fund representing Hostess Brands Inc. workers hired investment bank Gordian Group LLC in connection with the bankruptcy of the maker of Twinkies and Wonder bread.

The New York-based banking firm was selected in part for its experience working on behalf of employees in other restructurings, the Bakery Confectionery Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union said in a statement on its website Jan. 19. It represents more than 5,000 Hostess workers.

Flowers Foods Inc. submitted the lead bid for most of the assets of the company's bread-baking operations, Hostess Chief Executive Officer Gregory F. Rayburn said Jan 11.

"We aim to be directly involved in the M&A process in a way the union hasn't been to date," Peter Kaufman, Gordian's president, said in a telephone interview yesterday. "We're open to working with Flowers as well as other bidders for the brands, the assets and the company."

Hostess, the 82-year-old maker of Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, began to wind down operations in November after failing to reach an agreement with its striking bakers' union on concessions to help it emerge from its second bankruptcy. Changes in American diets led to years of declining sales while ingredient costs and labor expenses climbed.

The Hostess liquidation sales may generate about $1 billion, financial adviser Joshua Scherer of Perella Weinberg Partners LP said in November.

Airline Restructuring

Gordian Group previously represented the Transport Workers Union in the restructuring of American Airlines, according to the statement. Tom Becker, a Hostess spokesman, declined to comment on the hiring of Gordian Group and an e-mail to a union spokeswoman wasn't immediately returned.

A hearing to consider approval of bidding procedures is set for Jan. 25.

The case is In re Hostess Brands Inc., 12-22052, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (White Plains). The prior bankruptcy was In re Interstate Bakeries Corp., 04-45814, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Missouri (Kansas City).

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