OppenheimerFunds

is planning to put the struggling

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Oppenheimer Disciplined Value fund out of its misery.

On Tuesday the New York-based, broker-sold fund shop filed a proxy with regulators asking the shareholders of the underperforming large-cap

value fund to approve a merger into the

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Oppenheimer Main St. Growth & Income fund, a similar large-cap fund that has performed better.

The value investment style -- essentially bargain-hunting in the stock market -- has been out of favor for the past few years, but Disciplined Value has suffered more than most. The fund trails its large-cap value peers and the

S&P 500 over the past one-, three-, five-, and 10-year periods, according to

Morningstar

. Its 12.8% ten-year annualized return lags behind the index by nearly five percentage points and about 60% of its peers.

Chuck Albers and Nikolaos Monoyios run both funds, although they've only co-managed Disciplined Value for a month. The pair follow a quantitative style, using a series of complex screens to pick out stocks they believe are undervalued, but growing earnings and gaining a following on Wall St. They took Main St. Growth & Income's reins in April 1998.

Albers earned a solid reputation running

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Guardian Park Avenue for 25 years before joining Oppenheimer.

So far, with Growth & Income, the pair's work has led to better returns than Disciplined Growth. In 1998 and 1999 the fund posted 25.2% and 17.1% gains, respectively. In the same years Disciplined Value posted a 8.5% gain and a 4.7% loss.

In addition to a better track record, Main St. Growth & Income's 0.91% expense ratio is lower than Disciplined Value's 0.98%. Both are lower than the average large-cap value fund's 1.41% expenses, according to Morningstar.

Proxies are due Aug. 22.

See Monday's

Fund Moves, Manager Changes.