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Atlanta's Wendy's/Arby's Group selling off Arby's

12:30 PM, Jun 13, 2011   |    comments
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The company that owns both Wendy's and Arby's is ditching the roast beef chain to focus on reinventing Wendy's.

Wendy's/Arby's Group shares surged 6.9% in pre-market trading Monday after the fast food restaurateur announced it will sell most of its stake in the struggling Arby's chain.

Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm, is buying 81.5% of Arby's in a deal estimated at $430 million. Wendys/Arby's Group will retain an 18.5% share in the company after the deal.

Roland Smith, president and CEO of Wendy's/Arby's Group, said in a release that the deal will "allow us to devote our full attention and resources on the exciting growth opportunities we have at Wendy's."

Smith also said he wants to revitalize Wendy's core menu, expand breakfast offerings and update its buildings as it goes toe-to-toe against rivals McDonald's and Burger King.

The announcement comes after top executives at the company said earlier this year, that they were searching for "strategic alternatives" for Arby's, after being approached by an unnamed buyer.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Nelson Peltz, known for taking over and spinning off companies, has been one of Wendy's largest shareholders and has sat on the Wendy's/Arby's Group board since 1993.

In 2006, he pushed Wendy's to spin off the Tim Hortons coffee chain and sell Baja Fresh.

Peltz's firm, Trian Fund Management, also acquired a 9.7% stake in Domino's Pizza Inc. last month. The firm also tried to buy $7 billion in shares in Family Dollar Stores, but the discount chain rejected the offer.

(CNN|Money)

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