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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Vulture capitalism — not unions — killed Twinkies

Hedge funds took profits and piled on millions in debt. They created this bankruptcy.

From the piece: 

For all these reasons, Hostess (then known as Interstate) initially entered bankruptcy in 2004, with uncomfortably close to half a billion dollars in debt. Sixty percent of the debt was owned by hedge funds Silver Point Capital and Monarch Alternative Capital, the rest by an assortment of other lenders. No one who was paying attention to the company’s fortunes was surprised by the move. During the nearly five years of its initial bankruptcy, the company accrued even more debt.

As these conditions lingered the workforce agreed to massive pay and benefit cuts in an attempt to keep the company afloat. One 14-year veteran of the company describes the $150 million annual givebacks the union agreed to: “In 2005, before concessions I made $48,000, last year I made $34,000.” Pensions and healthcare were cut as well, with labor’s total loss equaling $110 million annually.

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