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Leon Black – the man who saved the Twinkie

Hostess Brands snack division, known for their Twinkies have been bought out of bankruptcy at the last minute by Black’s private equity firm, Apollo Global Management.

The news that some of their most favourite brands of cakes and biscuits were in danger of disappearing from the supermarket shelves brought much distress to the American public. The reason for the impending disappearance of such well known and loved brands such as Sno Balls and Wonder Bread to name but a few was that the long established Hostess brands, one of America’s largest producers of bread cakes and biscuits, had decided to file for bankruptcy citing the ability to keep up with the ever rising cost of ingredients as well as a number of other ancillary costs.

Between the lines it appears that among the principal reasons for Hostess brands unfortunate closure was their ongoing industrial strife with the bakers union, who refused to budge on the company’s requests for the eighteen thousand union members on the appeal to take a cut in pay and benefits to help the company to survive through the difficult times they had been experiencing. When the unions announced that they were not willing to play ball, then Hostess decided that they had no option but to file for bankruptcy protection.

The news of the breakup of hope of Hostess was greeted with great interest within the food production industry with two of the leading largest food processing companies in the US immediately stepping in with offers to snap up some of the bakery conglomerate’s thirty assorted brands. Eventually most of the various brands in Hostess’s lengthy product list had a potential buyer waiting for them. All that is required is formal acceptance of “stalking horse bids” with the final word on who gets to own what, including the Twinkie’s label dependent, on a US court’s final approval.

Most conspicuous by its absence in all of the bids for the various Hostess brands was that one for “Twinkies”, despite the fact that Twinkies is one of the best selling brands of biscuits in the United States. With the news that the Twinkie brand was experiencing genuine difficulties finding a buyer, a genuine wave of despondency swept through the American cookie buying public, and people will be able to look at the few remaining boxes of Hostess Twinkies cookies on the supermarket shelves as potential collector’s item.

That was until Leon Black through his Apollo Global Management company came in with a last-minute bid of around four hundred million dollars which, on the assumption that it is accepted, will see his company earn the right to produce Twinkies as well as a few other well loved the American snacks including Donettes, Dolly Madison and Ho-Hos, with the first snacks expected to roll of the production lines sometime during the summer.

In order to meet the anticipated surge of orders for Twinkies and the other items from the Hostess stable that have now come under his wing, Black has called on the services of a well-known expert in the management of food companies, Dean Metropoulos to mastermind the establishment of production facilities.

Initial impressions are that Black will not be taking advantage of any of the production facilities now left vacant by the closure of Hostage, but instead will be outsourcing the production of the much loved Twinkies to third parties under the careful supervision of Metropoulos and his team.

It will be their job to ensure that as the Twinkies roar off the production line we will of man lost none of their taste or shape that has been associated with this much loved snack for the many years that it has been in enjoyed by American cookie lovers and from those throughout the world.

In the meantime Leon Black can bask in the reflective glory of being known as the man who saved the Twinkie.

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