Flowers Foods completes Hostess bread buyout

THOMASVILLE, Ga. — Flowers Foods Inc. has completed its $355 million acquisition of several breads, bakeries and other assets from the company previously known as Hostess Brands.

Flowers said Monday that the deal strengthens its position as the second-biggest baker in the U.S. because the breads and bakeries will expand its reach geographically into new markets.

The transaction includes the Wonder, Nature’s Pride, Merita, Home Pride and Butternut bread brands, 20 bakeries and 36 depots. Flowers received regulatory approval for the deal with Old HB Inc. earlier this month.

Flowers announced in February that it agreed to buy the assets. The court overseeing the Old HB bankruptcy proceeding approved the sale a month later. Flowers initially bid $360 million for the assets, but the purchase price was adjusted for issues related to the Butternut trademark.

Flowers President and CEO Allen Shiver said in a statement that the breads will be back on store shelves “over time.”

Flower is based in Thomasville, Ga., and is one of the largest producers of packaged bakery goods for retail and foodservice customers in the U.S., with 2012 sales of $3.05 billion.

Flowers runs 44 bakeries that produce a wide range of bakery products. Among the company’s brands are Nature’s Own and Tastykake.

The company’s stock shed 8 cents to $23.55 in afternoon trading Monday. That’s still near the high end of its 52-week range of $12.31 to $24.24.

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