CHICAGO -- Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc. Chairman Nelson Peltz said he's reviewing an overture from an unnamed group interested in acquiring the fast-food company.
His disclosure, made late Thursday in a regulatory filing, sent shares up 31 cents, or 7.1 percent, to $4.65 Friday.
Peltz, whose investment firm owns 23.5 percent of the company's shares, gave few details about the inquiry, which he disclosed in a regulatory filing late Thursday.
But he said the possible deal could include his participation and that he would work with financial advisers to discuss the transaction. Among the many possiblities he listed in his filing, Peltz said he would likely meet with debt and equity financing sources regarding a possible deal.
Peltz led Arby's former parent Triarc Cos., which acquired Wendy's in 2008.
A spokesman for the fast-food chain declined to comment on Friday, as did a representative from Peltz's Trian Fund Management.
Wendy's/Arby's Group, based in Atlanta, has struggled during the recession as customers scaled back on even cheap eats like fast food. Arby's, with its pricier menu, was particularly hurt, despite efforts to offer value meals and other discounted menu items.
In the most recent quarter, the chain lost $3.4 million, or a penny per share, as Arby's poor sales continued to drag down results. That compares with a loss of $10.9 million, or 2 cents per share, the previous year.
To fix the brand, the company is heavily promoting its new dollar menu that was added to 3,700 Arby's locations in April. It includes items like a small roast beef or chicken sandwich as well as curly fries.
Removing 3 cents per share in charges, earnings amounted to 2 cents per share.
Total revenue fell 3 percent to $837.4 million from $864 million.
Morningstar analyst Joscelyn MacKay said she thinks the company's potential suitor is another restaurant owner, not a private equity firm. That's because the company's size -- far smaller than rivals McDonald's Corp. and Yum Brands Inc., makes it more suited for a so-called strategic deal, than a financial one, she said.
"The combination of Wendy's and Arby's created such a large-scale company," she said. "I would really think that any kind of transaction would be to even improve on that."
But she said any news from a possible combination or buyout is likely far off.
The announcement comes less than two months after the operator of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's restaurants a $694 million buyout offer from an affiliate of Apollo Management VII LP.
The private equity firm's offer was accepted after it topped another bid from a second private equity firm, Thomas H. Lee Partners.
Wendy's/Arby's Group runs more than 10,000 restaurants in the U.S. and 24 countries and U.S. territories worldwide.
The company's stock is trading near the midpoint of its 52-week range. Shares have traded between $3.55 and $5.55 in the past year.