Flowers Foods Inc., Thomasville, Ga., the maker of Tastykake and Nature's Own baked goods, is considered a likely bidder for some of the assets owned by Hostess, which last week was granted permission by a federal bankruptcy court judge to begin liquidating. Hostess’ end came after a contentious bankruptcy that began in January and culminated in a strike in November.

Flowers, the nation's second-largest baker by sales behind Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV, Mexico, City, hasn't stated an intention to acquire Hostess assets, but the company said last week that it had renegotiated lending terms that could allow it to tap additional cash, a signal that it could be gearing up to make a bid.

A Flowers spokesman didn't respond to requests for comment.

In bankruptcy court last week, an attorney for Hostess said the company had received a "flood of inquiries" from potential buyers.

"We therefore think there could be very healthy competition," said Heather Lennox, the company's outside lawyer at Jones Day. She added that Hostess may, within the next several weeks, start seeking court approval to take specific assets to the auction block. The company is looking for buyers for its approximately 30 brands, 36 plants and other assets.

Other companies that reportedly have expressed interest in bidding for Hostess assets include private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc., liquidation firm Great American Group Inc. and C. Dean Metropoulos & Co., the owner of Pabst Blue Ribbon and other beer brands.

Source: The Wall Street Journal