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Report: Hostess, Ferrero front-runners in $1.5B Kellogg disposals

Hostess Brands Inc. and Ferrero SA have emerged as front-runners to acquire certain Kellogg Co.-owned cookies and fruit snacks businesses, CNBC reported March 25, citing people familiar with the matter.

Sources said both Hostess and Ferrero submitted final offers for Kellogg's Keebler, Famous Amos and fruit snacks business units on March 21. They added that a deal, which may value the brands at about $1.5 billion, is more than a week away.

Hostess, Ferrero and B&G Foods Inc. were among the companies that reportedly submitted first-round bids in January. Kellogg in November 2018 said it had put the brands up for sale as part of the restructuring of its North American arm.

Sources reportedly said Hostess is considering buying the Keebler cookie brand via a "reverse Morris Trust," which enables two similarly sized companies to merge in a more tax-efficient manner.