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Investor proposes Wendy's overhaul

Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz intends to propose an overhaul of Wendy's International Inc. , the No. 3 U.S. hamburger chain, threatening a proxy fight if the company does not follow his plan, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
/ Source: Reuters

Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz intends to propose an overhaul of Wendy's International Inc., the No. 3 U.S. hamburger chain, threatening a proxy fight if the company does not follow his plan, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Citing people briefed on Peltz's plans, the newspaper said the investor's firm, Trian, has compiled a list of ways to revive the Wendy's business. It said Trian has also proposed about $200 million in possible annual savings from corporate overhead.

Trian has quietly amassed about 5.5 percent of Wendy's in stock and options, according to the report.

Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy's has been struggling to reverse sluggish sales at its namesake restaurants for more than a year.

The company has already faced harsh criticism from investors this year. Activist hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management, which as of August owned Wendy's stake exceeding 10 percent of its shares, lobbied for months for the company to spin off its fast-growing Tim Hortons coffee-shop chain.

In July, the company agreed to spin off 15 to 18 percent of Tim Hortons so it could focus on the battle of its flagship brand against a revitalized McDonald's Corp. It said a full spin-off could occur later.

The Times said that Peltz is expected to ask Wendy's to spin off all of Tim Hortons and sell its other ancillary chains -- Baja Fresh, Cafe Express and Pasta Pomodoro.

It said he will also focus on the performance of Wendy's company-owned restaurants.

Citing people close to the company, the report said Wendy's chief executive, John Schuessler, has refused to meet Peltz.

The newspaper said Trian believes that shares in Wendy's could rise to a between $77 and $89 each if the company follows its plans.

The shares closed at $51.37 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.