Wendy's To Sell Off Arby's Chain

Just three years after combining in a $2.2 billion merger, Wendy’s and Arby’s are about to part ways. The supersized 2008 deal created the world’s third-largest fast-food chain, but Arby’s has struggled and parent Wendy’s/Arby’s Group is now ready to slice the roast-beef chain out of the family.

In the 2008 merger, Arby’s parent, Triarc Cos., bought Wendy’s for $2.2 billion, and Arby’s still provides about 30% of the combined company’s business. But it’s been slow to expand internationally or add new items to its menu, according to Reuters.

Arby’s was late to offer a value menu and lacks the international exposure that has helped top fast-food chains like McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) and Yum Brands Inc (YUM.N) grow despite the U.S. economic downturn.

Analysts said Arby’s could be a tough sell. It is still in need of a turnaround and it might be hard to find another restaurant operator willing to buy it.

“Not to say that there is not a potential private equity buyer, but it may be that Arby’s winds up being sold to its franchisees, in a deal that may have to be partly financed by the company,” Roth Capital Partners analyst Tony Brenner said in a note to clients.

Some analysts believe Arby’s could bring in as much as $600 million if it’s able to attract a buyer.

Arby’s restaurant chain put up for sale [Reuters]