By Nick Brown
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hostess Brands Inc may be going out of
business, but that doesn't mean it's giving away its Twinkies
In a lawsuit filed on Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in
Manhattan, the baker and bread maker demanded about $2.84
million in overdue invoices from grocery store chain The Kroger
Co. Kroger and several of its subsidiaries have failed to make
payments since July, Hostess alleged.
Hostess did not say which of its many products it sold to
Kroger, and a lawyer for the company declined to comment on
Monday. But snacks like Twinkies, Wonder Bread and Ding-Dongs
have been staples at grocers like Kroger for decades.
Hostess is liquidating after filing for bankruptcy in
January 2012, its second jaunt through Chapter 11 after a
previous one between 2004 and 2009.
Its Wonder Bread and other brands are slated to go to
Flowers Foods Inc after that company won an auction last year,
while Mexico's Grupo Bimbo won the rights to Hostess's Beefsteak
In addition to turning over $2.84 million in funds, Hostess
is asking a bankruptcy judge to disallow at least two legal
claims levied by Kroger against Hostess until the company pays
what it owes.
A spokesman for Kroger did not respond to a request for
comment on Monday.
While Hostess's fate is sealed, its bankruptcy is not
without some lingering drama. Besides Friday's lawsuit against
Kroger, the Department of Justice on Monday objected to the sale
of about 20 Hostess bakeries to Flowers.
The sale frees Flowers from any present or future claim that
may arise even out of standard labor, environmental and other
laws, Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of
New York, said in an objection filed on Friday.
The cases are In re Hostess Brands Inc and Hostess Brands
Inc v. The Kroger Co, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District
of New York, Nos. 12-22052 and 13-8209.
For Hostess: Katherine Sutcliffe Becker and Paul Hoffman,
Stinson Morrison Hecker.
For Kroger: Not immediately available.
Follow us on Twitter @ReutersLegal | Like us on Facebook