Hostess Brands to close down, sell assets

IRVING, Texas — Hostess Brands, the maker of Twinkies and Ho Ho's, is closing down amid a union strike that the company said forced it to halt operations.

The snack food manufacturer announced Friday that it had filed for permission from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to close its business and sell its assets after a nationwide strike by the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union "crippled" its ability to produce and deliver products. In September, the BCTGM rejected a final offer from the company that was designed so it could attract new financing and emerge from chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The offer to the union included wage, benefit and work rule concessions, but also gave the company's 12 unions a 25% ownership stake in the company, board representation and $100 million in reorganized company debt.

The company closed three plants on Nov. 12, and on Nov. 14, it announced it would be forced to liquidate if it couldn't get enough employees back to restore normal operations by the end of the day Thursday. Bakery operations have been suspended at all the company's plants, and it plans to lay off most of its 18,500 workers, though the company said it would continue delivering products and selling already produced goods through its retail stores for several days. The company will close 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, 5,500 delivery routes and 570 outlet stores.

The company plans to sell its baking and distribution facilities, as well as brands such as Hostess, Drakes and Dolly Madison, which make products like Twinkies, CupCakes, Ding Dongs, Ho Ho's, Sno Balls and Donettes, as well as brad products like Wonder, Nature's Pride, Beefsteak and others.