CINCINNATI -- Pierre Foods Inc., a manufacturer of convenience sandwiches sold in the vending channel, said it will merge with two Oklahoma-based convenience food makers, Advance Food Co. Inc. and Advance Brands LLC.
The combined company will be called Advance Pierre Foods. It will supply value-added protein and handheld convenience food products to the foodservice, school, retail, club, vending and convenience store channels. Its product range will include packaged sandwiches, fully cooked chicken and beef products, Philly-style steak, breaded beef, pork and poultry, along with bakery products.
Headquartered in Cincinnati, with some divisional leadership based in Oklahoma, Advance Pierre Foods will operate protein-processing facilities in Oklahoma, Ohio and Iowa, as well as sandwich assembly facilities in North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina. The company will also operate bakeries in North Carolina and Oklahoma.
Pierre Foods chief executive Bill Toler will hold the same top position in the new company. Advance Food chief executive Greg Allen will join the board of directors of the combined concern. Advance president Mark Allen will run the division focused on the foodservice and school channels. Executives from all three companies will staff the Advance Pierre Foods management team. Integration planning for all company functions is underway, officials said.
Pierre Foods was established in 1946 and is headquartered in Cincinnati. Its latest product is Smart Picks, a line of kid-friendly foods formulated to meet increasingly stringent nutritional guidelines in schools. The line will roll out with the start of the coming school year.
Advance Food Co., founded in 1973 by Paul Allen and David McLaughlin, manufactures pre-portioned, ready-to-cook and fully cooked beef, pork, veal and chicken, along with turkey food products. Its products are purchased by restaurants, business and industry foodservice venues, schools and universities, military bases, healthcare facilities, hotels and stadiums and arenas across the U.S. and abroad.
Advance Brands is a joint venture between Advance Food Co. and Cargill Meat Solutions formed in 2001. It supplies convenient chicken, beef and pork products under the brand names Fast Classics, Fast Fixin’ and Steak-Eze to supermarkets and club stores nationwide.
The transaction that will combine the three food companies is expected to close within two months. Funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P., 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. Shareholders of Advance Food Co., the Allen and McLaughlin families, will own a minority share of the combined company.