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City of Detroit, Residents Face Uncertain Future After Record Bankruptcy Filing

Posted by Dale Buss on July 19, 2013 01:09 PM

The City of Detroit, its leaders and workers and residents in tow, opened a door to their future as emergency manager Kevyn Orr filed for bankruptcy on behalf of the Motor City on Thursday.

Michigan's largest city became the biggest US municipality to file for bankruptcy after decades of population loss, endemic infrastructure decline, inept management, struggles with its suburbs, national image problems and other woes that left Detroit too poor to pay its billions of dollars in debts to bondholders, retired cops, current city workers and other creditors.

Despite more recent investments by national retailers and a hopeful "comeback" campaign—not to mention Chrysler's "Imported From Detroit" civic pride-filled campaign—the city's fate was written in stone. 

The filing "is an emotional and cultural nadir that is tear-inducing and gut-wrenching," wrote Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press, in a typical sentiment. "Bankruptcy is the bottom of a tremendous, Roman-empire-like slide for one of the world's most significant locales."Continue reading...

chew on this

New Hostess Owners Will Freeze Some Twinkies—And Some Fans

Posted by Dale Buss on July 8, 2013 12:43 PM

It presses the bounds of credulity to think that being frozen would really make much difference to the shelf life of what's been known to be a practically indestructible product. But the decision by the new manufacturers of Hostess Twinkies to freeze some deliveries of the tasty little loaves is causing some longtime fans some untoward distress.

The new owners, Metropoulos & Co and Apollo Management Group, confirmed that they plan to freeze Twinkies being delivered to some retailers as the brand hits US shelves again this month after a near eight-month absence due to the liquidation of Hostess. 

A spokeswoman for Metropoulos & Co.—which swooped in to buy the orphaned brand, along with other Hostess baked goods, earlier this year—told The Huffington Post that the decision was made after a small percentage of the company's retail customers explicitly requested frozen versions of the treat.Continue reading...

chew on this

Twinkies, Other Hostess Brands Find New Owners in $800 Million Sell-Off

Posted by Brandchannel Staff on March 19, 2013 11:44 AM

After filing for bankruptcy protection in November and laying off its workers, Hostess has finally found buyers to pony up about $800 million for the majority of its baked goods brands.

According to Associated Press, a bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of Hostess Brands' iconic Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos to two investment firms, Apollo Global Management and Pabst owner Metropoulos & Co., for $410 million. The judge also approved the sale of Hostess-owned Wonder Bread, Nature's Pride, Butternut, Home Pride and Merita bread brands to Tastykakes owner Flowers Foods, for $360M.

Beefsteak, a Hostess-owned regional bread brand, also was approved for a $31.9 million sale to Mexico's Grupo Bimbo, which surfaced early in the Hostess bankruptcy auction as a potential buyer and acquired Sara Lee's North American bakery business in 2010.Continue reading...

uphill battles

Detroit Hires Emergency Manager With Chrysler Turnaround Chops

Posted by Dale Buss on March 15, 2013 11:08 AM

Just a couple of days after seeing its former mayor trundled off to jail in a conspiracy conviction, Detroit is considering whether to rally behind a new emergency manager appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

Kevyn Orr became Detroit's emergency financial manager this week, sharing a dais on Thursday not only with Snyder but, significantly, with Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, who has graciously partnered with Snyder and other state officials in the top-down takeover of a Motor City that Bing had hoped to turn around.

Orr is a 54-year-old, "high-powered Washington, D.C., lawyer," according to the Detroit Free Press, and University of Michigan graduate who worked on Chrysler's 2009 bankruptcy restructuring in his role at the Jones Day legal firm—a background that helped him land the job, and will give him what he'll need to tackle the unparalleled woes of Detroit. His new role will also him a $275,000 fee for spending the next 18 months trying to solve the financial puzzle that is Detroit.

"This is the Olympics of restructuring," said Orr to the Detroit Free Press. "Bankruptcy's been my stock in trade for the past several decades."Continue reading...

brand revival

Reader’s Digest Rises from Bankruptcy… Again

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 13, 2013 03:07 PM

Reader’s Digest’s two trips to bankruptcy court in under four years seem to be paying off.

The magazine’s parent, RDA Holding, filed for Chapter 11 last month, (the first round was in 2009) hoping to convert nearly $465 million of debt into equity held by creditors as the 91-year-old publisher struggles to survive.

"After considering a wide range of alternatives, we believe this course of action will most effectively enable us to maintain our momentum in transforming the business and allow us to capitalize on the growing strength and presence of our outstanding brands and products," said CEO Robert E. Guth.Continue reading...

Long Live Twinkies: Snack Brand Bought Up by Private Equity Firm (UPDATED)

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on March 12, 2013 05:08 PM

The world has been restored to its rightful order, folks. The snack-cake division of Hostess has accepted a buyer bid from Apollo Global Management Group and Metropoulos & Co. for $410 million. 

Hostess was to conduct an auction later this week for snack brands including Twinkies, CupCakes, Ho Hos and Ding Dongs, however no competing bids were received by the deadline. Apollo, in partnership with veteran food executive Dean Metropoulos, has reportedly said that they are aiming to have the snack cakes back on shelves by summer, according to the Chicago Tribune.Continue reading...

media triage

Reader’s Digest Turns a Page, Files for Chapter 11 Again

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 19, 2013 01:26 PM

Reader’s Digest is filing for bankruptcy for the second time in three and a half years.

"Under a restructuring agreement supported by Wells Fargo & Co., $465 million of remaining senior notes will all convert to equity," explained CEO Robert Guth to Bloomberg. "The key message here is that we have a lot of confidence in the future of the business based upon the success of the ongoing operational transformation, but we haven’t had as much success with the balance sheet side of it and we need this process to help accelerate that."

"The Chapter 11 process, which will facilitate a significant debt reduction, will enable us to continue to redefine our business by focusing our resources on our strong North America publishing brands, which have shown a new vitality as a result of our transformation efforts, particularly in the digital arena," Guth stated in the press release announcing the restructuring.Continue reading...


Game Over: Blockbuster Goes Bust in UK as Retail Market Flounders

Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 13, 2013 05:40 PM

UK retailers are not having an easy time of it, as the systematic shuttering of 164 Blockbuster stores is added to the list of foundering UK businesess.

The high-profile failing of music retailer HMV—which operates some 240 stores in Britain, Ireland, Singapore and Hong Kong—has already shut down all 16 of its Irish posts. The chain's owner, Hilco Consumer Capital, which specializes in buying bankrupt brands and owns Borders and Polaroid, is expected to decide the fate of HMV's other stores sometime this month. HMV's woes came on the heels of the bankruptcy of Jessops, a UK camera retailer, last week.

For Blockbuster, whose U.S. retail arm has been belly-up since 2010, the closure of UK stores comes as no surprise.Continue reading...

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