NEW YORK -- A bankruptcy judge on Tuesday approved the sale of Twinkies to a pair of investment firms, one of which has said it hopes to have the cakes back on shelves by summer.
Hostess Brands Inc. is selling Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and other brands to Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. for $410 million. Evan Metropoulos, a principal of the latter firm, said in an interview that he wants to have the snack cakes back on shelves by June and that the brands could benefit from new flavors and other product extensions.
"There's no mistake, we've got to move smartly, we've got to move quickly," Metropoulos said.
He also said that comedians Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis are at the top of his "wish list" for potential pitchmen. But he doesn't plan on formally approaching anyone about marketing deals until after the sale closes in coming weeks.
Metropoulos, which owns Pabst beer, has already used Ferrell in its ads. Apollo's investments include the fast-food chains Hardee's and Carl's Jr., which is known for indulgent burgers and splashy ads starring scantily clad women.
Judge Robert Drain of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York also approved the sale of Wonder bread to Flowers Foods, which makes Tastykakes and other breads. Flowers, based in Thomasville, Ga., would also get Nature's Pride, Butternut, Home Pride and Merita as part of the $360 million deal.
Hostess has said the Justice Department is reviewing that sale.
The sale of Beefsteak to Grupo Bimbo was also approved. Grupo Bimbo makes Entenmann's cakes and Thomas' English muffins and is paying $31.9 million for the regional bread brand.
A separate hearing is scheduled for April 9 to approve the sale of Drake's cakes, which include Devil Dogs and Yodels. Hostess picked McKee Foods, the maker of Little Debbie snack cakes, as the buyer for those brands at $27.5 million.
Taken together, a Hostess spokesman said 29 of the bankrupt company's 36 bakeries were sold as part of the transactions. It will be up to the new owners whether to hire back the thousands of workers who lost their jobs when the company went out of business.
Mark Semer, a spokesman for Metropoulos, said the firms would hire "the most qualified employees for each of our facilities, and this certainly includes many excellent, former Hostess workers."
The bakers union for Hostess, which had previously objected to the sales, said in a statement that it shared the enthusiasm exhibited by the new owners to bring Hostess brands back to shelves quickly.
The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union said it believed "our highly-motivated and skilled workforce will serve as indispensable partners in the seamless re-opening of factories."
The Teamsters, which was the company's largest union, appeared less optimistic.
"The liquidation and sale process has only insured that the brands may live on – none of the buyers have made any comments to employ former Hostess workers let alone honor the terms of conditions of their employment with Hostess – in fact they specifically stipulated that none of the obligations carry forward as part of their bids," the Teamsters said.
Hostess closed its factories in late November following a strike by the union. The company had been struggling financially for years.
Also on HuffPost:
Single Twinkies, $5,000
eBay user pingsing24 is trying to unload <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/Single-Twinkies-/221154337629?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item337dd3635d">"single Twinkies" for $5,000</a>. His product description is actually quite persuasive: "This is your opportunity to own a piece of history, a delicious piece at that."
Twinkie Box, $200,000
$200,000 for a <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-box-of-Hostess-Twinkies-/321024827871?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4abe9221df">box of 10 Twinkies</a> may seem like a rip-off, but the seller claims that it is "a great collectors item that can be passed down to family members and will only gain in value!"
Hostess Cupcakes 8-Pack, $100,000
A single box containing eight Hostess chocolate cupcakes with cream filling will <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hostess-Cupcakes-8-Pack-/251185042505?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a7bcb9449">set you back $100,000 with this auction</a>. The bad news is that they expire November 27th.
Twinkie the Kid and Captain Cupcake Store Display, $5,000
Listed with a $5,000 "Buy It Now" price, this <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hostess-Twinkies-The-Kid-Captain-Cupcake-Store-Displays-Two-56-L-x-15-W-ea-/170943596821?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27cd084915">vintage store display sign</a> features Twinkie the Kid and Captain Cupcake. The seller is "guessing" it's from the early 1970s.
Single Golden Sponge And Cupcake, $2,000
A single sealed Golden Sponge and Chocolate Cupcake can be yours for <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/Twinkies-Hostess-Golden-Sponge-Cake-and-Cupcake-UNOPENNED-/330829860363?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d06ff0e0b">$2,000</a>.
Assorted Hostess Treat Collection, $3,500
Why have one Hostess snack when you can have <em>several</em> Hostess snacks? <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/LOT-of-FRESH-Hostess-Twinkies-Cupcakes-Chocolate-Strawberry-Vanilla-/200849008607?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2ec388a7df">This seller is auctioning</a> off three boxes of Strawberry Cupcakes, seven boxes of Chocolate Cupcakes, five boxes of Vanilla Twinkies and two boxes of Chocolate Twinkies.
3 Boxes of Sealed Chocodiles, $89.95
Why should Twinkies get all the auction love? A seller claiming "direct access to the Hostess bakery" is offering <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-boxes-of-SEALED-Box-of-Hostess-Chocodiles-3x10-Chocolate-Twinkies-Chocodile-/221128477721?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item337c48cc19">three sealed boxes of Chocodiles for $89.95</a>.
Hostess Baseball Card Sets, $240
From 1975 to 1993, Hostess released <a href="http://www.baseball-almanac.com/baseball_cards/baseball_card_sets.php?m=Hostess">several series of baseball cards</a> with their products. One set is <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/1979-HOSTESS-BASEBALL-NEAR-SET-133-150-W-STARS-16428-/370662281330?pt=US_Baseball&hash=item564d319072">asking for $240</a> on eBay. A <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/1975-HOSTESS-TWINKIES-29-PETE-ROSE-HAND-CUT-PSA-9-POP-1-7-POP-7-/230869166050?pt=US_Baseball&hash=item35c0dfe7e2">Pete Rose card from 1975</a> is listed at $522.49.
24 Bags of Hickory Sticks, $179.76
Who knew Hostess made chips? Twenty-four bags of Hostess <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/HOSTESS-HICKORY-STICKS-24-x-300g-BAGS-/290751708526?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43b226fd6e">Hickory Sticks are available for purchase for $179.76</a>. In the sellers words: "the flavoring is good, and it's not so strong that you can't taste the potato as well."
Hostess 'Snake Cake Holiday Gift Basket,' $500
<a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hostess-Snack-Cake-Holiday-Gift-Basket-Twinkies-Zingers-and-More-/251185137130?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a7bcd05ea">Another Hostess variety pack</a> is currently listed at $500 with a buying price of $2,000. The auction features a box of Twinkies, a box of Suzy Q's, a box of raspberry Zingers, a box of Ding Dongs and a box of Ho Hos.
Twinkies Bake Set, $61
Who needs Hostess to stay open when you can make your own Twinkies? <a href="https://editorial.huffingtonpost.com/slides/v2/#slideshow/263939/slide/1770101">Currently bidding at $61 after 32 bids</a>, eBay seller "maxjet" describes the sealed set: <blockquote>This kit contains everything you need to bake your own Twinkies® <em>whenever</em> the mood strikes. Includes everything you need to to create up to 8 cakes per batch in your very own kitchen: non-stick baking pan, high-temperature spatula, icing injector, recipe booklet, and best of all--a Twinkie-the-Kid-shaped container. (Heck, this is worth owning for the Twinkie-the-Kid container <em>alone</em>!)</blockquote>
Twinkie The Kid Lunchbox, $14.99
A mint condition "Twinkie The Kid" lunchbox <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2012/11/16/news/companies/hostess-twinkies-ebay/index.html">fetched $690 on Friday</a>, up from an opening bid of $14.99.