Advantage Sales & Marketing LLC Announces Consolidation

12/9/2003

IRVINE, Calif. — Advantage Sales and Marketing, LLC (ASM), the largest sales and marketing agency in North America, announced today that it is consolidating substantially all of its Member Companies throughout the continental United States.

As part of this consolidation, ASM has agreed to a strategic and financial partnership with Allied Capital Corporation, a Washington D.C. based private equity investment firm. The transaction is scheduled to close in the first quarter of 2004, subject to certain regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. The ASM partnership with Allied Capital will allow ASM to accelerate its growth strategy and further its mission of being the most effective and efficient provider of global consumer connection services.

The consolidated environment will also enable ASM to deploy the resources necessary to meet the needs of evolving client and customer business, encouraging best practices throughout the ASM organization.

“We believe that this strategic and financial partnership with Allied Capital will enable ASM to service its clients and customers with greater flexibility, while providing enhanced succession plans for our businesses. The partnership will also afford ASM associates greater personal and career growth opportunities,” said Sonny King, Chairman and CEO, ASM.

The existing ASM executive team will continue to lead the company with Sonny King as Chairman and CEO and Mark Meyer as President, Client Services. Mike Sunderland will assume the role of President and COO.

Advantage Sales and Marketing, LLC (ASM) is a leading sales and marketing agency in North America, specializing in consumer packaged goods. With 12,000 associates across the United States, ASM continues to take a leadership position in the food industry, providing superior service to leading food and non-food manufacturers at food, drug, channel, c-store, natural and specialty retailers throughout the country, ASM is headquartered in Irvine, California.