(Aug. 30) HOUSTON — Broadliner Sysco Corp. announced Aug 29 that it had signed a letter of intent to acquire Abbott Foods Inc., a Columbus, Ohio-based foodservice distributor.

The deal is expected to close in early October, said John Palizza, Sysco’s assistant treasurer.

Abbott Foods is Ohio’s largest privately owned foodservice distributor, with sales of about $200 million in 2001, according to a Sysco news release. Abbott Foods operates from a 287,000-square-foot warehouse, providing about 10,000 products to 7,800 customers across Ohio and surrounding states.

“The opportunity to join forces with (Sysco) will enhance our procurement and growth opportunities, benefiting both our customers and employees,” Larry C. Abbott, president and chief executive officer of Abbott Foods, said in the news release.

Sysco is the largest foodservice marketing and distribution organization in North America, serving 415,000 restaurants, health-care and educational facilities, hotels and other foodservice customers.