CINCINNATI – Advance Food Co., Inc., Enid, Okla., plans to merge with Pierre Foods, Inc. The merger also includes Advance Brands L.L.C., which is a joint venture between Advance Food Co. and Cargill Meat Solutions, Wichita, Kas. The new company will be called Advance Pierre Foods.

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

Bill Toler, the current chief executive officer of Pierre Foods, will become the c.e.o. of the newly combined company. Greg Allen, the current c.e.o. of Advance Food Co. 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,” said Mr. Toler. “The new and expanded product offerings and distribution network will give our combined customers tremendous variety, quality and value.”

The new company will offer 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 Oklahoma, Advance Pierre Foods will operate processing facilities in Oklahoma, Ohio and Iowa as well as sandwich assembly facilities in North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina. The company also will operate bakeries in North Carolina and Oklahoma.

“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, Mark Allen will run the division focused on food service and school channels.