How Wall Street made an absolute killing from Twinkies

Hostess Brands, the maker of Twinkies, is going public in a deal that is great news for private equity.

Apollo Global Management and the family-owned private equity firm C. Dean Metropoulos & Company — which together bought Hostess out of bankruptcy in 2013 — have sold the company to Gores Holdings, a special purpose acquisition company, for some $675 million.

In the process, they have made a ton of money.

Much of it comes from a $905 million dividend recapitalization last year, in which Hostess sold $1.23 billion of term loans to fund dividends to shareholders, according to Bloomberg.

Here are the details:

  • Apollo and Metropoulos bid $410 million for Hostess in 2013.
  • They also committed $250 million to rehabilitating the company and about $20 million for additional costs like lawyer fees.
  • That was financed by a $140 million equity investment from Apollo, a $40 million equity investment from Metropoulos, and a $500 million debt offering.
  • Apollo has earned about $522 million to date in realised proceeds, and expects to earn another $200 million from Tuesday’s deal. It will continue to hold a stake in the company worth about $220 million.

The private equity backers initially sought to sell Hostess Brands in a traditional sale process. Potential buyers were the Mexican company Grupo Bimbo SAB and Flowers Foods, Bloomberg reported at the time.

Specialty purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, are blank-check companies, or shell companies, that go public and then acquire other companies with the funds raised from their offerings.

In this case, Gores is essentially taking Hostess public while avoiding the traditional initial-public offering process.

Hostess went bankrupt twice in the past decade. It emerged from its first bankruptcy in 2009, according to Bloomberg, before filing for bankruptcy once again in 2012.

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