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  • Dynamic Duo: Vistar and Roma join forces to create $3 billion distribution firm

DENVER — Vistar Corporation and Roma Food Enterprises, Inc. announced the merger of their foodservice distribution businesses. According to a news release, the deal should be consummated by the end of January 2005.

The companies intend to continue developing their focus on becoming the leading distributor across the country to pizza, Italian and ethnic restaurants. The combined company will service restaurants out of 25 foodservice distribution facilities in 15 states.

In the coming year, Vistar plans to rebrand and rename its own food companies using the Roma name, while continuing to operate its 19 specialty vending distribution companies under the Vistar/VSA name.

The combined foodservice businesses will push Vistar's total revenues to greater than $3 billion annually.

"It is the commitment Vistar has made to carry on our Roma traditions that excites me," said Roma chairman and founder Lou Piancone. "I am personally committed to see our two companies come together to accelerate each other's growth."

Piancone will remain chairman of Roma Food Enterprises and be very involved with both companies in the continued development of sales associates and supplier relationships.

Lou Piancone, Jr. of Roma Food, and Steve Piancone for Roma Food Enterprises will continue in their respective roles of president and chief executive officer and senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Piscataway, N.J. operations.

"In my 25 years in this business, I've not met anyone as committed to his customers, his employees, and his product line as Lou Piancone," said George Holm, president and chief executive officer of Vistar. "Lou and his Roma team will be an absolutely great fit and addition to our business."

Denver-based Vistar Corporation is a distributor of food products and other supplies to many specialized segments of the away-from-home food market. In addition to distributing third-party products, Vistar also distributes a line of in-house brands, including the "Ultimo! Supreme" brand of deli meats and tomato products and the "Ultimo!" brand of pizza ingredients.

It employs approximately 2,800 people and operates 30 distribution centers throughout the United States.

Roma Food Enterprises, Inc. was created and founded by Louis G. Piancone in 1955. It specializes in the distribution of Italian and Italian American foodservice products and services many U.S. pizzerias. The Company operates distribution centers in Florida, Texas, California, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona and South Carolina as well as its New Jersey flagship operation.

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