Arby's is the second-largest quick-service sandwich chain in the U.S. with nearly 3,700 restaurants, the company said. While Arby's has posted same-store sales declines in some recent quarters, in the fourth quarter of 2010, company-operated stores saw a 3.1% same-store sales growth.
"However, despite Arby's positive momentum, the reality is that the Wendy's brand, given its relative size and scope, is the key driver of shareholder return, and we believe we should focus on the execution of the compelling growth opportunities at Wendy's," said activist investor Nelson Peltz, who is also chairman of the holding company.
Peltz has been pushing for such a move, saying Wendy's is better positioned to compete in this market. Arby's performance during the economic downturn lagged behind that of Wendy's.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Peltz's hedge fund, Trian Fund Management LP, owns a 24.3% stake in the company, which was created through the 2008 merger of the Arby's and Wendy's chains. Wendy's/Arby's joins a long list of fast food restaurant companies that are trying to reposition themselves as the economy improves through deals, new menu options and store remodeling.
Wendy's/Arby's said it had hired UBS Investment Bank (UBS) to assist in the sale process.
Shares of Wendy's/Arby's jumped by as much as 6% in premarket trading Thursday to $4.80.