A billionaire investor has told fastfood company Wendy’s it should spin off its Tim Horton restaurant chain.
In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Trian Fund Management, reportedly a vehicle for billionaire Nelson Peltz, said it believed that Wendy’s shares were currently undervalued in the market place and represented an attractive investment opportunity.
In early December 2005, a representative of Trian attempted to contact John T. Schuessler, the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Wendy’s, several times, the filing said. After leaving several messages for Schuessler, the representative was contacted by John Barker, senior vice president, Investor Relations and Financial Communications of Wendy’s. The representative told Barker that “we come in peace” and that Trian had established a significant stake in the Issuer, just below the Schedule 13D 5% filing threshold.
The representative requested a meeting with Schuessler, at a convenient time and location, to discuss Trian’s value creation plan, which includes (i) the immediate commencement of a 100% tax-free spinoff of Tim Hortons, (ii) the sale of Wendy’s ancillary brands, (iii) the reevaluation of certain components of the Issuer’s previously announced strategic initiatives and (iv) a significant reduction in costs at the Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers business.
The representative Barker that if the plan were discussed and agreed to, Trian would possibly its ownership level below 5% (and not file a Schedule 13D) since the intention was not to wage a battle in the press.
On 6 December 2005, Barker informed the representative that Schuessler was currently too busy “managing the brand” to meet with representatives of Trian.
Wendy’s responded with a statement saying it had made substantial progress on strategic initiatives. In response to the filing it said, “the company has previously analyzed and considered the elements outlined in the group’s proposal. The filing indicates that these investors own a total of 950,000 common shares of Wendy’s International Inc, or less than 1% of the company’s outstanding shares.”