Hostess Brands, baker of iconic Twinkies cakes, said Friday it asked a court's permission to shut down the entire company after a strike crippled its operations.
The move shuts down one of the nation's oldest and largest producers of baked goods. Founded in 1930, it produces such well-known brands, aside from Twinkies, as Ding-Dongs, Ho Ho's, Sno Balls and Donettes, not to mention Wonder bread, which the company says is the best-selling white bread in the United States.
In a statement, Hostess said its bakery operations have been suspended at all plants and that it would lay off most of its 18,500 workers to focus on selling its assets. It said it has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets, including 33 bakeries and 565 distribution centers.
The company said it would continue to deliver products and its stores would remain open for several days to sell already-baked products.
"The Board of Directors authorized the wind down of Hostess Brands to preserve and maximize the value of the estate after one of the company's largest unions, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), initiated a nationwide strike that crippled the company's ability to produce and deliver products at multiple facilities," Hostess said in the statement.
On Nov. 12, Hostess permanently closed three plants because of the strike. Two days later, the company announced that it would be forced to liquidate if enough workers did not return to restore normal operations by 5 p.m. ET Thursday.
"We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," said Gregory F. Rayburn, chief executive officer.