NEW YORK — A bankruptcy judge Thursday afternoon approved Hostess Brands plans to give its top executives bonuses totaling up to $1.8 million as part of its wind-down plans.
The maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos says the incentive pay is needed to retain the 19 managers during the liquidation process, which could take about a year. Two of those executives would be eligible for additional rewards depending on how efficiently they carry out the liquidation.
The judge also approved the rest of the Hostess wind-down plan.
The process includes the quick sale of its brands, which also include Wonder Bread. Hostess says it has received a flood of interest in the brands.
The Irving, Texas-based company’s bankruptcy means loss of about 18,000 jobs.
The company said in court that it’s in talks with 110 potential buyers for its brands, which include CupCakes, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos. The suitors include at least five national retailers such as supermarkets, a financial adviser for Hostess said. The process has been “so fast and furious” Hostess wasn’t able to make its planned calls to potential buyers, said Joshua Scherer of Perella Weinberg Partners.
Last week, analysts noted that it was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for buyers to snap up such well-known products without the debt and labor contracts that would come with the purchasing the entire company. Although Hostess sales have been declining over the years, they still clock in at between $2.3 billion and $2.4 billion a year.