Bankrupt Hostess To Give Top Execs Bonuses

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 30 2012 9:55 AM

Twinkies Really Will Last Forever

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Workers prepare Hostess Twinkies for packaging at the Interstate Bakeries Corporation facility April 20, 2005 in Schiller Park, Illinois

Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images.

A federal bankruptcy judge signed off on Hostess Brands' wind-down plans late yesterday, clearing the way for the Twinkies maker to both shed 18,000 jobs and hand out up to $1.8 million in bonuses to its top executives if they stay on and meet certain liquidation goals.

That last part has employees more than a little upset, particularly given that the company stopped contributing to its union pension plans more than a year ago and now says it can no longer pay retiree benefits. Those benefits are worth about $1.1 million a month. The company says the bonuses will be used to keep 19 top executives and managers during the wind-down process. On average, that would put each bonus at a little less than $100,000 if the liquidation targets are met. That cash is on top of their regular salaries.

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The good news for lovers of the company's iconic snack foods is that despite Hostess' liquidation, its brands appear certain to live on. The Associated Press with the details:

Hostess said in court that it's in talks with 110 potential buyers for its brands.
The suitors include at least five national retailers, such as supermarkets, a financial adviser for the company said. The process has been "so fast and furious" Hostess wasn't able to make its planned calls to potential buyers, said Joshua Scherer of Perella Weinberg Partners. "Not only are these buyers serious, but they are expecting to spend substantial sums," he said.

While Hostess sales have been on the decline in recent years, they still top $2.3 billion a year.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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