NEW YORK – Flowers Foods Inc. and Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. “are in discussions to acquire pieces of Hostess Inc.’s bread business,” according to a story published by The Wall Street Journal.

The Jan. 5 story cited sources familiar with negotiations stating the bread brands could be sold for as much as $350 million.

“Hostess could disclose Flowers, Grupo Bimbo or others as opening bidders in a looming bankruptcy-court auction for the assets as soon as this week, the people said,” the Journal said. “Hostess, whose bread brands include Wonder Bread, Nature's Pride, Home Pride, Merita and Butternut, is still determining how to split up assets and package them for buyers, one of the people said.”

From the outset of the decision by Hostess to liquidate its assets, both Bimbo and Flowers have been regularly cited as potential buyers. The Journal  story is the first published indication that the two companies, the first and second largest baking companies in the United States, are exploring the purchase of Hostess bread assets.