Hostess Brands, LLC
Setting the stage for “the sweetest comeback in the history of ever,” Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management in April of 2013 acquired select snack cake assets from the Old Hostess company, which liquidated in 2012 – shuttering all operations and sounding the death knell for America’s most iconic snack cake brand.
Urban legends aside, Twinkies’ shelf life was at the brink of expiration – to the horror of consumers coast to coast. Grassroots “save the Twinkie campaigns” sprouted in the heartland. The social media universe lit up with passionate consumer pleas. There was even a White House petition asking the president to “nationalize the Twinkie industry.” Fans began stockpiling their beloved treats. As the last shipment of products hit shelves, media reported: “Twinkie Madness Hits Chicago.” It appeared, however, that all was for naught, as there was no meaningful interest by investors in the Old Hostess company, which had filed for bankruptcy twice in eight years under multiple owners.
But, in fact, a miracle comeback was in store.
In just three months, the new ownership had created more than 1,000 new jobs, re-opened four bakeries and produced more than 100 million snack cakes to reintroduce Hostess to America in July of 2013. Just three years later, the team had created a billion dollar business, executing a plan that has been described as a “Harvard Business School Case study in how to turnaround a business.”
The reinvention of Hostess is not a story about shedding liabilities. The Metropoulos/Apollo partnership re-created a business through massive investment to improve bakery facilities and overall operations, a new, broader and more efficient distribution strategy, a relentless focus on innovation, and creative marketing to ensure Hostess products remained relevant to new generations of consumers.
Having been left for dead, Hostess reclaimed the mantle of a snack cake super power. And interest was not just limited to consumers. On November 4, 2016, through a deal with the publicly traded special-purpose acquisition company, Gores Holdings Inc., Hostess Brands listed on the Nasdaq under the symbol TWNK, a capstone to a storied revival led by a hands-on leadership team.