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Hostess seeks executive bonuses

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Hostess is seeking approval in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to give its top executives bonuses totaling up to $1.8 million as part of its wind-down plans.

Hostess on Nov. 16 had shuttered its 33 U.S. production facilities, including the Dolly Madison plant in Columbus, after a strike by one of its largest unions, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International.

Striking workers, including about 160 members of Local 132 in Columbus, were protesting a new contract that forced upon the employees cuts to wages and pensions. The average worker was making about $15 per hour before the cuts.

The company says the incentive pay it requested in court is needed to retain the 19 corporate officers and "high-level managers" during the liquidation process, which could take about a year. The bonuses do not include pay for CEO Gregory Rayburn, who was brought on as a restructuring expert earlier this year. Rayburn is being paid $125,000 a month.

The company also said that it's in talks with more than 100 parties interested in buying its brands, which include Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos. The interested parties now include at least five national retailers such as supermarkets, a banker for the company said in bankruptcy court today. The process has been "so fast and furious" the company hasn't been able to make the calls seeking buyers it previously intended, said Joshua Scherer of Perella Weinberg Partners.

Associated Press contributed to this story.

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