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February 28, 2013

Flowers bid moves to next phase

THOMASVILLE —  Flowers Foods Inc. confirmed on Thursday that its stalking horse bid for Hostess Brands Inc.’s Wonder, Nature’s Pride, Merita, Home Pride and Butternut bread brands; 20 bakeries; and approximately 38 depots for $360 million was declared the highest and best bid for such assets, eliminating the need for the auction that had been scheduled for Thursday.

This transaction moves to the next phase, which is a review and approval of Flowers’ bid by the bankruptcy court overseeing Hostess’ bankruptcy case at a hearing scheduled for March 19.

Flowers’ stalking horse bid for Hostess’ Beefsteak brand for a purchase price of $30 million was topped by another bidder. That auction was scheduled for Thursday, but Flowers chose not to increase its bid as would have been necessary to win the Beefsteak auction.

“We are pleased Flowers won the bid for Hostess’ primary bread brands and bakeries without the need for an auction,” said George E. Deese, Flowers Foods’ chairman of the board and CEO. “Now we move forward with the next step, which is the bankruptcy court review. Following that, the transaction will continue through the regulatory process before it can be finalized. We expect it could be several months yet before it’s finalized.”

Following Hostess’ exit from the market in November 2012 and the initiation of the sale of its assets, Flowers announced on Jan. 11 its agreement with Hostess to be the stalking horse bidder for certain Hostess bread bakeries and bread brands. If Flowers is ultimately successful in its acquisition of these assets, they will fit with the company’s long-term growth objective to reach more of the U.S. population with its fresh breads, buns, and rolls.

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