NEW YORK The indestructible Twinkie appears to be one step closer to a comeback.
Hostess Brands is close to announcing that it has picked two investment firms - C. Dean Metropoulos and Apollo Global Management - as the lead bidders for its Twinkies and other snack cakes, according to a source close to the situation who was not authorized to comment publicly on the talks.
The joint "stalking horse" bid would set the floor for an auction process that lets competitors make better offers. A judge would have to approve any final sale.
Hostess has already announced separate lead bidders for other its brands. McKee Foods, which makes Little Debbie snack cakes, was picked as for Drake's cakes, which include Devil Dogs, Funny Bones and Yodels.
Flowers Foods, which makes Tastykakes and a variety of breads, was picked as the lead bidder for six of Hostess' major bread brands, including Wonder.
United States Bakery was picked as the lead bidder for a number of smaller bread brands.
Citing sources close to the situation it did not same, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the offer for Twinkies and other snack cakes by C. Dean Metropoulos and Apollo would be for more than $400 million. The report said that the deal could be disclosed as early as Tuesday.
A representative for Apollo declined to comment. A representative for C. Dean Metropoulos did not return calls for comment.
Hostess, which is based in Irving, Texas, announced in November that it was shutting down its business and selling its bread, snacks and cakes brands along with its 33 bakeries and other operations. The company's demise came in its second attempt since 2004 to restructure itself under bankruptcy protection.
Hostess has stressed in bankruptcy proceedings that it needs to move quickly in the sale of its brands to capitalize on the outpouring of nostalgia and media coverage prompted by its failures.
AP Food Industry Writer Candice Choi contributed to this report.