Sale of Hostess Fails
Steve’s breakdown: When Dean Metropoulos and Leon Black bought Hostess back in 2013, they knew they needed an ad push. I guess it wasn’t good enough so this set-back might get them more serious about advertising.
KANSAS CITY, MO: Twinkies are sugary but not that sweet to some investors.
Billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos and Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management tried to sell their Hostess Brands for $2.3 billion but pulled the sale in the last few days after failing to get offers at the hoped-for price.
The two were in exclusive talks with PE firm CVC Capital Partners to sell Hostess — maker of Twinkies, Ho Hos, Suzy Q’s and other snack cakes — for just a bit more than $2 billion after leading it back from a 2012 bankruptcy.
Metropoulos and Apollo in April 2013 bought most of the Hostess snack brands, including Twinkies, out of liquidation for $410 million and successfully relaunched products.
After more than one year of rebuilding the business, the two owners looked to sell the company at a tidy profit.
“CVC kept telling Dean what a lousy business it was,” a source close to the situation said.
The PE firm liked the business and offered a price about 10-times operating profit — but similar listed food companies were fetching 11-to-12 times operating profit, a source said.
Not able to get his price, “Dean said ‘F–k you’ and canceled the auction,” a source said.
Instead, the owners will recapitalize their business and aim to take it public next year, two sources close to the situation told The Post.
Reuters was the first to report Hostess had stopped its sales process.
For Metropoulos, the auction was likely a disappointment after being the focus of a flattering Forbes May cover story titled “The Amazing Twinkie Jackpot.”
In fact, no competing food company was interested enough in Hostess to make what Hostess considered a serious offer, sources said.
“Dean’s plan now is to recap the business immediately and pull out more than his initial investment through a dividend,” the source said.
The owners two years ago invested only $200 million in equity to buy Hostess’ snacks business. The company may now borrow $800 million to pay the owners a dividend giving them a still-nifty profit, a source said.
Hostess isn’t quite ready to list its shares on the public markets, another source said.
“I think it needs a longer operating history before it gets a premium multiple. I don’t think they have enough history to go public right now.”
Apollo and CVC declined to comment.