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Pierre Foods to Merge with Advance Food Company and Advance Brands

August 2, 2010

3 Min Read
Pierre Foods to Merge with Advance Food Company and Advance Brands

Senior management from Pierre Foods Inc., Advance Food Company, Inc., and Advance Brands LLC, have announced that the Boards of Directors of all three companies have unanimously approved and entered into a definitive merger agreement. The combined company will be called Advance Pierre Foods and creates a leading supplier of value-added protein and handheld convenience food products to the foodservice, school, retail, club, vending, and convenience store channels.

The transaction is expected to close within the next two months and is subject to customary closing conditions. Funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management LP, a Los Angeles-based investment firm, are currently the majority shareholder of Pierre Foods and upon closing, will maintain a majority share of the combined company. The current shareholders of Advance Food Co., the Allen and McLaughlin Families, will own a minority share of the combined company.

Bill Toler, current CEO of Pierre Foods, will become the CEO of the newly combined company and Greg Allen, current CEO of Advance Food Company will join the Board of Directors of the combined company.

“Pierre is extremely pleased to merge with these two outstanding companies we have known and admired over the years. The new and expanded product offerings and distribution network will give our combined customers tremendous variety, quality and value,” said Toler. “Our businesses are wonderfully complementary, and we share common corporate philosophies around the importance of taking care of both customers and employees.”

Advance Pierre Foods will offer a full line of packaged sandwiches, fully cooked chicken and beef products, Philly-style steak, breaded beef, pork, and poultry and bakery products. Headquartered in Cincinnati, with some divisional leadership based in OK, Advance Pierre Foods will operate protein processing facilities in OK, OH, and IA as well as sandwich assembly facilities in NC, OH, and SC. The company will also operate bakeries in NC and OK.

The management team for Advance Pierre Foods includes executives from all three companies. Integration planning for all company functions is underway.

“Pierre has had a long tradition of providing innovative and high quality products which are a natural fit for our company,” said Mark Allen, president of Advance Food Co. “The combination of resources from all three companies will provide more options and opportunities across all sales channels, resulting in a stronger company going forward into the future.” In the newly combined company, Allen will run the division focused on foodservice and school channels.

“Putting our companies together truly combines the best of both worlds for all of our customers and creates a world class organization to serve their needs,” said Billy McPherson, vice president of sales for Advance Brands.

“Both Pierre and the Advance companies are coming off of successful years,” said Matthew Wilson, managing director at Oaktree Capital Management. “We are very excited about the growth opportunity created by putting these three financially strong companies together.”

Credit Suisse, Barclays Capital, Morgan Stanley, and BMO Capital Markets have entered into financing arrangements, subject to customary closing conditions, to provide debt financing for the transaction and Morgan Stanley, Barclays Capital, and Credit Suisse acted as Oaktree and Pierre’s financial advisors. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP acted as Oaktree and Pierre’s legal advisor. Bass, Berry & Sims served as legal advisor to the Advance Companies.

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