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Sun Capital Partners expresses interest in Hostess

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Bakery workers continued to walk union picket lines outside the Dolly Madison plant on National Road in Columbus on Monday, even as a bankruptcy court in New York opened a 2 p.m. hearing to weigh Hostess Brands' request to dismantle the company and sell the rights to make Twinkies and other goods to the highest bidders.

News reports surfaced today in Fortune magazine that Sun Capital Partners of  Boca Raton, Fla., a private equity firm, has interest in acquiring Hostess and keeping its manufacturing plants and workforce more or less intact.

 "I think that we could offer a slightly better, more labor-friendly deal than what was on the table last week," said Sun co-CEO Marc Leder, in an interview with Fortune. "We also think that one point the unions have made is that there hasn't been a great amount of reinvestment in the business. We've found that investing new capital into companies like this can be very positive for brand, people and profitability ... We would look to invest in newer, more modern, manufacturing assets that would enable the company to become more productive and to innovate."

Hanging in the balance are more than 18,000 Hostess jobs, including more than 200 in Columbus, where the Hostess-owned Dolly Madison brand  bakes a variety of doughnuts and sweet rolls.

If no one buys the National Road plant here, a proposal filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court envisions no more than 28 workers remaining on the payroll for four weeks or so as operations wind down. A few more might stay on for up to three months in Columbus and at Hostess' other manufacturing plants, court documents filed on Friday by Hostess suggested.

This story will be updated online, and in Tuesday's Republic.

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