Old HB

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This article is about the company known as Hostess Brands from 2009–2013. For the company which acquired the Hostess name from Old HB, see Hostess Brands.
Old HB, Inc.
Industry Food (bakery)
Fate Bankruptcy
Successor Hostess Brands
Founded 1930 (1930)
Defunct November 21, 2012 (2012-11-21)
Headquarters Irving, Texas, United States
Key people
Gregory F. Rayburn, CEO
Products Brands such as Wonder Bread (US only), Hostess, Nature's Pride, Merita Breads, Home Pride, and Dolly Madison
Revenue $2.8 billion (2008)[1]
$144 million (2008)
Total equity $462 million (2008)
Website www.oldhbinc.info

Old HB, Inc., named Hostess Brands, Inc. from 2009 to 2013, and established in 1930 as Interstate Bakeries Corporation, was a wholesale baker and distributor of bakery products in the United States.[2] Before its closure and liquidation in 2012, it was the owner of the Hostess, Wonder Bread, Nature's Pride, Dolly Madison, Butternut Breads, and Drake's brands.

For many years, it was based at 12 East Armour Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri. In 2009, after it emerged from a 2004 bankruptcy, the name was changed to Hostess Brands, Inc., and the headquarters moved to Irving, Texas.[3] Hostess Brands, Inc., sought bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code again in January 2012.[4]

On November 16, 2012, the company filed a motion in United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in White Plains seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets. On November 21, 2012 (2012-11-21), the motion to close its business was accepted.[5] A judge then agreed to hand over all the Hostess Brands foods to different buyers.[6][7]

The Hostess and Dolly Madison brand names along with the cakes and recipes used under each brand are now produced by Kansas City, Missouri-based Hostess Brands, LLC (known as New HB Acquisition, LLC until June 2013).


Former headquarters on Armour Boulevard in Kansas City (later the operations center).
Former Interstate Bakeries logo

Interstate Bakeries Corporation (1930)[edit]

The company has its roots in the Nafziger Bakeries which were started by Ralph Leroy Nafziger in a church basement at 6th and Prospect Avenue in Kansas City in 1905. Nafziger expanded the bakeries and bought out competitors. In 1925, he sold Nafziger Bakeries to Purity Bakeries[8] (which in turn became American Bakeries). Using his fortune he acquired a controlling interest in Schulze Baking Company and its Butternut Bread brand.[9]

In 1930, he announced the formation of Interstate Bakeries Corporation (IBC) with the merger of the Schulze Bakery with seven bakers under the umbrella of Western Bakeries of Los Angeles. At the time claimed to be the fifth largest baker in the United States.[10][11] The company was a wholesaler selling Butternut bread loaves wrapped in gingham to grocery stores.[9]

Schulze and Western continued to operate as separate entities under the Interstate umbrella until 1937 when they were merged into Interstate Bakeries.[12][13] In 1943, it acquired Supreme Baking Company in Los Angeles. In 1950, it bought O'Rourke Baking Company of Buffalo, New York.

Butter-Nut bread package, 1930-1945

In the 1950s and early 1960s purchases included Ambrosia Cake Company, the Remar Baking Company, the Butter Cream Baking Company, Campbell-Sell Baking Company, the Kingston Cake Bakery, Cobb's Sunlit Bakery, Schall Tasty Baking Company, Sweetheart Bread Company, and Hart's Bakeries.[13]

In the late 1960s, it acquired Millbrook Bread, Baker Canning Company, Shawano Farms, Inc. and the Shawano Canning Company.[13]

Interstate Brands (1969)[edit]

In 1969, the company changed its name to Interstate Brands. Its signature brands were Butternut and Blue Seal breads, and Dolly Madison cakes. Butternut Breads was a manufacturer of bread products that had been in business since 1902.[13]

DPF (1975)[edit]

In 1975, Interstate was acquired by Data Processing Financial and General Corporation, known as DPF, a computer leasing company that had run into difficulties during the IBM antitrust battles, which changed pricing for IBM hardware. As a result, DPF was interested in changing business models, and using its cash to take over a low-tech company. The merged company, with headquarters in Hartsdale, New York, took the name "DPF" while it continued the divestiture of the remaining technology assets. While operating as DPF, the company invested heavily in its plants and also acquired Silver Loaf Baking Company, Eddy Bakeries, and Mrs. Cubbison's Foods, Inc.[13]

Interstate Bakeries (1981)[edit]

In 1981, DPF completed the sale of its remaining computer systems and changed the company name back to its original Interstate Bakeries. Interstate's headquarters moved back to Kansas City.[13]

In 1986, the company acquired Purity Baking Company and Stewart Sandwiches, followed in 1987 by Landshire Food Products.[13]

IBC Holdings (1987)[edit]

In 1987, management took the company private, changing the name to IBC Holdings. IBC bought the Merita/Cotton's Bakeries division of the American Bakeries Company.[13]

Interstate Bakeries (1991)[edit]

In 1991, the private company changed back into a publicly traded company, changing its name back to Interstate Bakeries.[13]

Continental Baking merger (1995)[edit]

In January 1995, Interstate acquired Continental Baking Company from Ralston Purina, for US$330 million and 16.9 million shares of Interstate stock. Continental had acquired Taggart Bakeries, of Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1925,[14] and brought Taggart's original creations Wonder Bread and Hostess brands – among others – to Interstate. Taggart had created Hostess in 1921, which concentrated on cakes like the Twinkies, CupCakes, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos which were created during Continental's ownership.[15]

During this time, the merged company also bought San Francisco French Bread Company, John J. Nissen Baking Company, Drake's, and My Bread Company.[13]

With the merger, Interstate now held two major national bread divisions – Butternut and Wonder Bread. The two divisions operated with different cultures: Butternut was unregimented and each bakery was a self-contained profit center; Wonder Bread was very "procedural and by-the-book." This caused some problems early on. In both cultures, snack cakes were more profitable due to economy of scale and logistics. When extended-shelf-life enzymes were developed for bread, the hope was to convert the system of many small, inefficient bakeries into an efficient network of a relatively few giant bakeries like their snack-cakes operation. However, the recipe using the new enzymes caused the bread to have a different taste and texture,[16] and other market forces like a resurrection of the Atkins diet and competitor Krispy Kreme doughnuts reduced pricing and sales volume.

Bankruptcy (2004)[edit]

On September 22, 2004, Interstate Bakeries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company also named a new chief executive, Tony Alvarez. Interstate Bakery's stock, which had been at one time $34/share, fell to $2.05/share as they declared bankruptcy. During this bankruptcy (at the time, the longest in U.S. history), Interstate fought a 2007 bid from Mexican baked goods giant Grupo Bimbo and Ron Burkle of the Yucaipa Companies.[17]

With the leadership of Craig Jung, the company emerged from bankruptcy as a private company on February 3, 2009.[18] The plan included a 50 percent equity stake by Ripplewood Holdings and lines/loans by General Electric Capital and GE Capital Markets, Silver Point Finance and Monarch Master Funding. Interstate's union workers made contract concessions in exchange for equity.[19]

During the 2004–2009 bankruptcy period, Interstate closed nine of its 54 bakeries and more than 300 outlet stores. Interstate's work force declined from 32,000 to 22,000 employees. The company also dropped some regional brands and operating agreements, such as the agreement to produce Sunbeam Bread for the northeastern U.S. (now produced by LePage Bakeries of Auburn, Maine).[19]

Hostess Brands, Inc. (2009)[edit]

Effective November 2, 2009, IBC was renamed Hostess Brands, Inc. after the cake division that featured Twinkies and cupcakes. Hostess Brands continued its bread lines, including Wonder Bread.[20] The company's subsidiaries, such as Interstate Brands Corporation, and IBC Sales Corporation, continued to display their name and logo on products from Hostess Brands.

Bankruptcy and liquidation (2012)[edit]

By December 2011, it was reported that Hostess Brands was on the verge of filing for bankruptcy a second time due to financial problems. The company stopped paying future pension benefits after August, thereby breaking its union contracts.[21] According to a Hostess worker at the time, "We understand that, should we pursue some form of legal action to require the company to live up to the terms of the contract, they may close, but we have come to believe that they will close anyway. We believe the company is poorly managed and the only hope is a complete change in management."[21]

On January 10, 2012, Hostess Brands filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy for the second time. In a statement in its filing, the company said it "is not competitive, primarily due to legacy pension and medical benefit obligations and restrictive work rules." The company said it employs 19,000 people and carries more than $860 million in debt. The company said it would continue to operate with $75 million debtor-in-possession financing from Monarch Alternative Capital, Silver Point Capital and other investors.[4]

In March 2012, Brian Driscoll resigned from his position as CEO.[22] Gregory F. Rayburn, who had been hired and named Chief Restructuring Officer only nine days earlier, assumed the leadership position. Fortune reported that unions within the organization had been unhappy with Driscoll's proposed compensation package of $1.5 million, plus cash incentives and a $1.95 million "long term compensation" package. Additionally, the court had discovered that Hostess executives had received raises of up to 80% the year prior. In an effort to restore relations, Rayburn cut the salaries of the four top Hostess executives to $1, to be restored by January 1 (or earlier) of the following year.[23]

In July 2012, the New York Post reported that negotiations (led by Silver Point Capital) with the Teamsters Union were close to a possible agreement that could allow Hostess Brands to cut employee pay and benefits, if the company maintained funding of existing pension plans.[24] In May, all 19,000 workers had been warned (as required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) that they could face a mass layoff. In an email to the Appeal-Democrat Hostess spokesman Erik Halvorson said that the May notices were to alert employees to possible sale or wind down of the company, but that "our goal is still to emerge from bankruptcy as a growing company with a strong future."[25] These layoff notices listed the dates as July 7–21, but on July 5 another company spokesman told the Financial News & Daily Record that there were no immediate plans to start laying off Hostess employees.[26]

In November 2012, Hostess employees nationwide went on strike. The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers' International Union (BCTGM), which represents 6,600 Hostess employees, took the strike action after the latest contract proposal from Hostess Brands was rejected by 92 percent of its members.[27]

On November 16, 2012, Hostess announced that it was ceasing plant operations and laying off most of its 18,500 employees. It stated that it intended to sell off all of its assets, including the well known brand names, and liquidate.[28][29] The CEO, Gregory Rayburn, stated, "Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders."[30][31]

Additionally, a press release was issued by the BCTGM International Union on the same day which stated in part, "When a highly-respected financial consultant, hired by Hostess, determined earlier this year that the company's business plan to exit bankruptcy was guaranteed to fail because it left the company with unsustainable debt levels, our members knew that the massive wage and benefit concessions the company was demanding would go straight to Wall Street investors and not back into the company."[32]

According to CEO Gregory Rayburn, several potential buyers have expressed interest in acquiring the Hostess brand.[33] On November 21, 2012, Judge Robert Drain gave Hostess final clearance to close.[5] In approving the plan Drain ruled against U.S. Trustee for the Southern District Tracy Hope Davis' motion to convert the bankruptcy into a Chapter 7 bankruptcy where a bankruptcy trustee would be appointed to oversee the liquidation. Davis rejected the claim objecting to provisions that would grant bonuses to insiders and cherry-pick which administrative claims get paid.[34] Drain left Rayburn in charge of the liquidation saying a trustee "would be a disaster." Hostess had argued that its assets would devalue if the company had to wait for a trustee to get up to speed on the running of the company.[35]

The liquidation plan of Hostess Brands was finalized by a federal bankruptcy judge on November 29, 2012.[36]

Hostess Brands has asked a judge to set a March 21, 2013 deadline for workers to file back-pay claims.[37]

On February 11, 2013, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in New York approved the stalking horse bidders for all of the Hostess Brands foods.[38][39][40][41]

Potential bidders[edit]

Hostess Brands has received bids for assets from many companies including Walmart, Target, Kroger, Flowers Foods and Grupo Bimbo.[42][43][44][45] Hostess Brands is narrowing down bids received for its various brands, and is expected to sell off its snack cakes and bread brands to separate buyers over the next few months.[46][47][48][49]

On January 8, 2013, Hostess Brands hired Hilco to sell all its equipment, machinery and real estate.[50]

On January 11, 2013, Hostess Brands announced a stalking horse bid for six of its bread brands, including Wonder Bread, by Flowers Foods for $390 million.[51] The final auction for these brands was held on February 28, 2013 (2013-02-28).[52]

On January 15, 2013, Hostess Brands began its search for a stalking horse bidder for its snack cakes.[53] At least four companies -- Grupo Bimbo, a partnership between Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos and Company, Hurst Capital and McKee Foods—are negotiating to bid for Hostess Brands' snack cakes.[54][55][56]

On January 29, 2013, Hostess Brands picked the team, Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos and Company, as the lead bidder for its snack cakes, including Twinkies, Cupcakes, and Ding-Dongs.[57][58][59][60] The bid deadlines for all the Hostess Brands were due on Monday, March 11 and Tuesday, March 12.[61]


It was announced on January 28, 2013 that the United States Bakery was the leading bidder for the Sweetheart, Eddy's, Standish Farms and Grandma Emilie's brands, while McKee Foods are the leading bidder for Hostess's Drake's brand, including Ring Dings, Yodels, Devil Dogs.[62][63]

On March 11, 2013, Apollo Global Management made the only bid for the snacks business of Hostess Brands, including Twinkies, for $410 million.[64]

Hostess Brands, LLC[edit]

For more information, please see Hostess Brands.

On June 6, 2013, the new Hostess Brands reopened the Emporia, Kansas plant.[65] Hostess announced on June 16, 2013, that production would resume the next month and on June 23 it was announced that their brands would be back on store shelves on July 15.[66][67] Though the company will be selling fewer products than before, its new president suggested that they might produce some innovative pastries and snacks, something their previous union complained they hadn't done in a long time. “We can have some fun with that mixture,” said the President of Hostess, Rich Seban, suggesting also that they might experiment with products that cash in on the gluten-free market, that add fiber, lower sugar or sodium.[68]


Sold to Apollo and Metropoulos[edit]

In January 2013, a joint venture between Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos and Company became the leading bidder to purchase Dolly Madison and the Hostess brand of snacks.[57] Silver Point Capital, Grupo Bimbo and Hurst Capital also placed bids for both brands.[54][55][69] On March 12, 2013, Apollo and Metropoulos won the bid to buy the brands from Hostess for $410 million.[70] The deal was approved by a bankruptcy court, and C. Dean Metropoulos and Company principal member Daren Metropoulos has announced that Hostess products would be sold again on July 15.[71]

Sold to Bimbo Bakeries USA[edit]

Bimbo Bakeries USA outbid Flowers Foods for the rights to Beefsteak on February 28, 2013.[72] The deal was approved by a bankruptcy court on March 20.[73] As of August 2013 the trademarks of J.J. Nissen and the webdomain jjnissenbreads.com have also been transferred to Bimbo Bakeries.[74] Bimbo later purchased other regional bread brands of Hostess.

  • Beefsteak[75]
  • Colombo
  • Cotton's
  • Emperor Norton
  • Fisherman's Wharf
  • J.J. Nissen[74]
  • Parisian
  • Toscana

Sold to Flowers Foods[edit]

In January 2013, it was announced that Flowers Foods had offered to buy six of Hostess' bread brands, including Wonder Bread. The deal is initially structured for $360 million and would involve 20 bakeries and 38 depots.[76] Flowers Foods won the bid to purchase five of six bread brands, excluding Beefsteak which was purchased by Grupo Bimbo, on February 28, 2013.[72] The deal went through a bankruptcy court in March, and was completed on July 22, 2013.[77][78] The brands involved are:

Sold to Lewis Brothers Bakeries[edit]

The rights to the following Hostess brands were sold to Lewis Brothers Bakeries in December 2013:[79]

  • Blue Ribbon
  • Braun's
  • Bread du Jour
  • Continental
  • Countess
  • County Fair
  • D'Agostino's
  • Daffodil Farm
  • Di Carlo
  • Millbrook
  • Nancy Martin
  • Old World
  • Ozark Mill
  • Pantry Pride
  • Sap's
  • Weber's

Sold to McKee Foods[edit]

McKee Foods, owner of Hostess competitor Little Debbie, purchased the Drake's brand of snack cakes on March 14, 2013, for $27.5 million.[63][80] The deal has gone through a bankruptcy court, and McKee began selling the snacks on September 23, 2013.[81]

Sold to United States Bakery Inc.[edit]

United States Bakery won the auction for four Northwestern Hostess bakeries on March 15, 2013 for a reported $30.85 million.[62][82] The deal was approved by a bankruptcy court in March 2013. The brands involved are:

Not sold[edit]

As of November 2015, the rights to the following Hostess brands remain unsold:

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]