Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Ralph's owner Kroger Co. and Sara Lee parent Grupo Bimbo are all said to be in the running to buy up assets from liquidating Twinkies maker Hostess, according to a report this week.
The companies, along with Midwest baked products distributor Alpha Baking Co., are bidding to pick up all or parts of Hostess, according to Bloomberg News. The report cites an anonymous source familiar with negotiations.
"There are rumors about Wal-Mart all the time and we just don't comment on them," said Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove in an email.
Kroger, Bimbo and Alpha could not immediately be reached for comment. Lance Ignon, a spokesman for Hostess, said the company would not comment on the report or provide updates about the bidding process.
Hostess said last month that it was filing for bankruptcy and shutting down after failing to come to terms with its striking Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union workers. The 82-year-old maker of Wonder Bread and Ding Dongs will eliminate all of its more than 18,000 workers except for a few who will stay on to oversee the wind-down.
The Irving, Texas, company will end up closing 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers and 570 bakery outlet stores nationwide.
Hostess has indicated a flood of interest from potential suitors. Other names said to be in the mix include Nature's Own parent Flowers Foods Inc., Sun Capital Partners Inc., Pabst beer owner C. Dean Metropoulous & Co. and investment firm Hurst Capital.