Image by/from Hostess Brands LLC
Hostess Brands is an American bakery company formed in June 2013. It owns several bakeries in the United States that produce snack cakes under the Hostess and Dolly Madison brand names. It is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, and is 50% owned by HB Holdings, LLC, a venture set up by Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos and Company.
The company is separate from Old HB, which was formerly known as Hostess Brands, Inc. from 2009 to 2013. Old HB is currently under liquidation and sold its cake business to Apollo and Metropoulos, creating the current Hostess Brands. The current Hostess Brands was formed as New HB Acquisition, LLC to acquire the cake business (Hostess and Dolly Madison brands) of Hostess Brands, Inc. Following the conclusion of the sale, Hostess Brands, Inc. became Old HB, Inc. and New HB Acquisition became Hostess Brands, LLC.
In June 2013, Hostess Brands retained the same public relations and advertising firms that had previously worked for Old HB. Bernstein-Rein in Kansas City, Missouri, will do Hostess Brands’ advertising; LAK Public Relations in New York will handle its public relations for the return of Hostess products.
The company officially restarted production of snack cakes on June 6, 2013, with products officially going on sale on July 15, 2013.
Of the eleven bakeries operated by Old HB, Hostess Brands retained four, in Columbus, Georgia; Emporia, Kansas; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Schiller Park, Illinois. The Schiller Park facility later closed in October 2014.
In the summer of 2015, Hostess began producing Hostess brand bread and buns. The company, which previously owned Wonder Bread, never produced bread under its own brand name. The new Hostess bread items are carried at certain drug stores and dollar stores.
On June 14, 2016, Hostess announced that it acquired Superior Cake Products, making it the company’s first acquisition since the Hostess brand returned in 2013.
In July 2016, Hostess announced it would be going public in an offering valuing the company at $2.3 billion. The deal would see Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos and Company become minority owners, with The Gores Group taking a majority ownership position in the firm.
Instead of making an initial public offering, Gores acquired Hostess via a spin-off, Gores Holdings, under a special-purpose acquisition company process. Gores Holdings subsequently renamed itself Hostess Brands, changing its ticker symbol from GRSH to TWNK, after the Twinkie brand snack cake.
In February 2017, Hostess released three new ice cream flavors inspired by Twinkies, Sno Balls, and CupCakes. The Twinkies flavor is made of buttercream ice cream base, sponge cake pieces and a vanilla frosting swirl. The SnoBalls flavor is made of cream-filled cakes with marshmallow and coconut frosting. The CupCake flavor is made of cream-filled cake with the famous squiggly line. Hostess ice cream is produced with Nestle, available in Dollar General stores and convenience stores. Hostess ice creams are only in stores for a limited run through May.
In 2017, the company rolled out a new upscale line of snacks called Hostess Bakery Petites, with no high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. The new line was credited with an increase in revenue for the 4th quarter of 2017 for the company.
On February 1, 2018, Hostess announced that it had acquired the Big Texas and the Cloverhill Bakery brands from Aryzta.
In April 2018, the company announced that Andy Callahan would take over as CEO in May 2018.
On August 1, 2019, Hostess announced that it was selling Superior Cake Products to Sara Lee Frozen Bakery for $65 million. The sale is expected to be completed in the third quarter.
On December 2, 2019, Hostess announced that it was purchasing Voortman Cookies Limited from Swander Pace Capital for approximately US$320 million (C$425 million). Hostess expects to close the transaction in early January 2020,
subject to customary closing conditions.