Wendy's Considers Sale of Chain

Profit Plunged 71% in First Quarter; Directors to Consider 'All' Options

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Wendy's International is considering selling its namesake restaurant chain following a 71% profit decline in the first quarter.
The burger chain's decision to consider a sale comes despite a succession of steps the company has taken to turn around its fortunes.
The burger chain's decision to consider a sale comes despite a succession of steps the company has taken to turn around its fortunes.

No time frame
On the eve of its annual shareholder meeting, the fast-food chain said a group of independent directors will "investigate all strategic options" for the company, including "revisions to the company's strategic plan, changes to its capital structure, a possible sale, merger or other business combination." The committee will be led by Chairman James V. Pickett.

"A number of stakeholders have offered suggestions about strategies to improve performance and create additional value," Mr. Pickett said. He said there was no specific time frame to complete the review, nor are there constraints to the options under review.

The move comes despite a succession of steps the company has taken to turn around its fortunes. Wendy's has faced shareholder pressure from Nelson Peltz, whose Trian Investments won three board seats. As part of its turnaround plan, Wendy's replaced its CEO, trimmed more than 500 positions, spun off its Tim Hortons doughnut chain and shed the flagging Baja Fresh Mexican Grill. In January, the marketer replaced ad agency McCann Erickson with Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi and media sibling MediaVest.

Profit decline
Mr. Peltz's shareholder actions have driven changes at H.J. Heinz Co. and Cadbury Schweppes. The financier has restructured his own organization, Triarc Cos., selling investment-management unit Deerfield & Co., to focus on the Arby's sandwich chain. At the time of the sale, Mr. Peltz said, "Arby's will be able to significantly increase value through both organic growth and the acquisition of other restaurant companies."

Wendy's, headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, reported quarterly profit fell 71% to $14.7 million while revenue grew 2% to $590.2 million compared to the year-ago quarter. Same-store sales rose 3.8% for U.S. company-operated units and 3.7% for U.S. franchise units on promotions for its Deluxe Value Meals and limited-time sandwich offers

"We are confident our initiatives to drive sales, reduce store-level management labor and improve service times will result in profit growth in the second half," CEO-President Kerrii Anderson said in a statement.
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