Wendy's Leans Toward Sale of Chain Rather Than Restructuring


Hamburger chain Wendy's International said on Monday it would explore the possible sale of the company instead of other restructuring options.

Wendy's , which also lowered its 2007 earnings forecast, had said in April it would weigh options to boost strategic value, including a possible sale. The latest announcement shows that the fast-food chain sees a sale as more likely.

Last month, Wendy's hired JP Morgan and Lehman Brothers as its financial advisers for a possible deal.

"Our goal is to move forward expeditiously and to minimize disruption to the Company and its operations," said Wendy's Chairman James Pickett.

The special committee of the board is also weighing a possible securitization financing, which could be used by the potential buyer or in a recapitalization of the company.

Highfields Capital Management, which owns 8.5 percent of Wendy's, last month urged the fast-food chain to sell itself to the highest bidder, according to media reports.

Wendy's also lowered its 2007 earnings forecast to a range of $1.09 to $1.23 a share, from $1.26 to $1.32 a share. It cited lower-than-planned same-store sales and higher-than-expected commodity costs for the lower forecast.

Wendy's said the past two months have been "challenging" and it has adjusted its pricing to bring its products in line with rivals.

Due to the potential sale of the company, Wendy's suspended its earnings guidance for 2008 and 2009.