The Supply Side: Wal-Mart supplier community news briefs

• McKee Foods bids to acquire Drake’s brand from Hostess
The maker of Little Debbie snack cakes, McKee Foods, has offered $25 million to $30 million for the Drake’s brand of Texas-based Hostess Brands Inc., according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The Drake’s brand includes products such as Devil Dogs, Ring Dings and Yodels.The Journal reports Hostess plans to file a stalking-horse bid for the Drake’s business this week in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y.

The proposed transaction would require a judge’s approval to be put into action, and the offer would be subject to higher bids at auction.

McKee Foods was founded in 1934 by O.D. and Ruth McKee in Chattanooga, Tenn. The company introduced the Little Debbie brand in 1960, basing the name and logo on the founders’ granddaughter. The company has annual sales of about $1.1 billion. Mckee Foods has a large plant in Gentry and is a major supplier to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

• Peer Foods Group.acquires Emge Foods
Peer Foods, a Chicago-based meat processor, said it recently purchased Indiana-based Emge Foods in an effort to expand its product lines.

Emge Foods is known for its sausage, hot dogs, bologna and specialty bacon and ham cured using the Emge family’s unique techniques. Its products are available nationally.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Peer Foods is a supplier to Wal-Mart for branded and private label meats.

• Unilever scales back spread business
Unilever announced plans to close its spreads factory in Atlanta on June 30. This move will address spare capacity among the company’s other U.S.-based spreads plants.

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The decision affects 125 employees at the Atlanta factory, where Country Crock, Imperial, and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter products are manufactured.

London-based Unilever has divested its frozen meals brands to ConAgra and its Skippy peanut butter to Hormel in recent months. This has reduced the company’s food business to margarine, dressings and savory sauces. Unilever employs about 11,000 people in the U.S. and generated more than $9 billion in sales in 2012. The company is also major supplier to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.with a sales office in Rogers.

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