April 11/Philadelphia/The Associated Press -- A Georgia food company announced a $34.4 million cash deal to acquire Tasty Baking Co., the iconic maker of Tastykakes and other packaged sweets that earlier this year was forced by financial difficulties to explore a merger or sale.

Thomasville, Ga.-based Flowers Foods Inc., which makes breads, buns, rolls, snack cakes, pastries and tortillas, is paying $4 a share for Tasty Baking's 8.6 million shares outstanding. The price is more than double Tasty Baking's closing price Friday of $1.61 a share.

Including assumed debt, the companies say the deal is worth $165 million.

The boards of both companies have unanimously approved the deal, according to a statement, and the acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter.

Philadelphia-based Tasty, whose line of packaged sweets includes Kandy Kakes and Krimpets, will become part of Flowers' direct-store-delivery business.

George E. Deese, Flowers Foods' chairman and CEO, said in a statement, "The merger will expand Flowers' geographic reach and bring new consumers, new customers, and new opportunities for further growth."

Charles P. Pizzi, Tasty Baking's president and CEO, said the move will create value for shareholders, customers and employees alike.

"We look forward to working closely with the Flowers team to complete the merger as quickly as possible and to ensure a smooth transition," Pizzi said.

A Flowers Foods spokeswoman and a spokesman for Tasty Baking each said they could not comment on Pizzi's future with the company.

From the April 12, 2011,Prepared Foods' Daily News.