Hostess Brands to Shut Down: Hot Trends

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Popular searches on the Internet include Hostess Brands as the maker of Twinkies and Ding Dongs said it is closing for good.

Hostess said Friday that it is asking a federal bankruptcy court for permission to shut down operations. The company is making this move on the heels of an employee strike on Nov. 9, when pay cuts were enforced.

On Thursday, the company gave its employees a 5 p.m. deadline to return to work -- or it would be forced to go into liquidation. CEO Gregory Rayburn said in a statement that the company does "not have the financial resources to weather an extended national strike." The closing will result in the loss of over 18,000 jobs.

Hostess will attempt to sell its assets to the highest bidder, which means Hostess products may not be gone forever if other companies decide to purchase them and offer them among their product lines.

Reckitt Benckiser is trending as the British consumer products group has offered $1.4 billion to purchase Schiff Nutrition International ( SHF), topping the offer previously made by Bayer.

Reckitt said it would offer $42 per Schiff share, handily beating Bayer's $1.2 billion, or $34 per share, offer that was made on Oct. 30. Schiff's main shareholders already agreed to the lower-priced buyout bid from Bayer.

The two companies are competing for Schiff's fast-growing and steadily profitable vitamins and nutritional supplements business.

Now, all eyes will be on Bayer to see if it responds with a counterbid, or if the action could potentially attract more potential suitors. According to its deal with Bayer, Schiff may entertain higher offers made in writing prior to Nov. 28. However, if Schiff goes with Reckitt or any other offer, it would have to pay a $22 million breakup fee to Bayer.

Schiff's top-selling brands include MegaRed for heart care, Airborne for preventing colds and Move Free for joints.

TNT Express is another popular search. The Dutch delivery group has agreed to sell its airline operations to ASL Aviation Group in an effort to protect its deal with United Parcel Service ( UPS).

UPS has proposed a €5.16 billion ($6.58 billion) takeover of TNT. In a statement on Friday, TNT said the sale of its airline business is conditional and dependent on the completion of the deal with UPS.

UPS has pushed back the completion date of the deal twice since it was announced on March 19, citing the regulatory review process.

If TNT goes ahead with the sale of its airline business, it will sell TNT Airways and Pan Air Lineas Areas SA in completion to ASL.

As part of its merger agreement, UPS has agreed to pay a fee of €200 million to TNT if it backs out of the deal.

The chatter on Main Street (a.k.a. Google, Yahoo! and other search sites) is always of interest to investors on Wall Street. Thus, each day, TheStreet compiles the stories that are trending on the Web, and highlights the news that could make stocks move.

-- Written by Brittany Umar.
Brittany joined TV in November 2006 after completing a degree in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers College. Previously, Brittany interned at the local ABC affiliate in New York City WABC-TV 7 where she helped research and produce On Your Side, a popular consumer advocacy segment.