Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread may soon be back in stores after a bankruptcy court judge on Tuesday approved sales of several iconic brands that had been owned by the failed Hostess Brands Inc. Buyout firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co teamed up for Hostess’s snack cake brands, paying $410 million for Twinkies, Ho Hos, Ding Dongs and Donnettes. Flowers Food Inc, which makes Tastykakes snacks, picked up most of Hostess’s bread business, including its Wonder and Nature’s Pride brands for $360 million. The No. 2 U.S. baking company also bought 20 bakeries and other operations. [Tribune]
Lynnley Browning has an interesting article in DealBook about “supercharged IPOs” today. The gist is that some private equity portfolio companies go public, but keep in place agreements requiring them to pay over 85% of certain tax benefits that they receive to their former IPO owners. This, or so the argument goes, is both unfairsies – why do private equity firms get that money rather than the current shareholders? – and also, y’know, opaque secretive financial engineering etc. Viz.:
Now, buyout specialists are increasingly collecting continuing payouts from their former portfolio companies. The strategy, known as an income tax receivable agreement, has been quietly employed in dozens of recent offerings backed by private equity …
While relatively rare, the strategy, referred to as a supercharged I.P.O., has proved to be controversial. To some tax experts, the technique amounts to financial engineering, depriving the companies of cash. Berry Plastics, for example, has to make payments to its one-time private equity owners, Apollo Global Management and Graham Partners, through 2016.
“It drains money out of the company that could be used for purposes that benefit all the shareholders,” said Robert Willens, a corporate tax and accounting expert in New York who coined the term “supercharged I.P.O.” …
Another potential issue is that sophisticated investors do not necessarily understand the deals, either. The agreements typically warrant just a few paragraphs in a company’s I.P.O. filings.
So that last part, meh. The prospectus for Berry Plastics – the main example DealBook cites – describes its income tax receivable agreement in several places and pretty clearly. It explains what’s going on – “we’re funneling 85% of our tax savings from current NOLs to our pre-IPO shareholders” – and even gives some numbers, estimating that the payments will total $310 to $350 million and mostly be paid by 2016.1 It’s not really all that tricky. Read more »
So it looks like Apollo Global Management and Metropolous & Co. will be bringing back the Twinkie. And they’re willing to pay almost as much for that right as Hostess said it was worth—all of it—when it filed for bankruptcy.
The private equity firms bid $410 million for most of Hostess’ cakes, and certainly all of the important ones: Twinkies, Ding Dongs, CupCakes and Ho Hos, as well as some things called Donettes. (I’ve never heard of the latter. Were they available in the greater New York area during the late 80s and early 90s?) Read more »
Howard Stern Has A Dream That Involves Leon Black Asking Him Why, If He Hasn’t Been Drinking, Does His Breath Smell Like Beer?By Bess Levin
“Leon throws some good parties, because Leon’s worth like twenty gazillion, like twenty billion or something crazy, and for him, you know, a billion dollars is like ten dollars to us,” Mr. Stern said on his Monday show on SiriusXM Radio, following Black’s 60th birthday party in Southampton. Mr. Black sits on the company’s board…Mr. Black had his backyard transformed into a faux nightclub setting, constructing a wooden deck over his swimming pool and building a tent for Mr. John’s concert. After a buffet of crab cakes and steak, partygoers sat on couches with big puffy pillows. They watched Mr. Black’s four grown children deliver touching toasts to their father, including a poem by the youngest son. “Oh, I wish I was Leon Black’s child,” Mr. Stern said on Monday. [Dealbook]
According to ESPN, talks between current owner Comcast-Spectacor and Harris are “ongoing” and a deal is “imminent.” [ESPN]