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Hedge Fund Gets Seats on Wendys Board

Date: Monday, March 6, 2006
Author: HFN Daily Report

Fast-food company Wendy's announced Thursday it is adding three nominees of Trian Fund Management to its board.

Nelson Palz, who runs Trian with Peter May, said in a statement the hedge fund firm is highly supportive of Wendy's management team.

Wendy's will add three seats to its board to accommodate Trian nominees Jerry Levin, Peter Rothschild and Stuart Oran. All three men have backgrounds in asset management. They will join on March 6 to expand the size of the board to 15.

Trian has a 5.5% stake in Wendy's and has been advocating the sale of all its non-core operations.

The fast food giant seems to be listening. On Thursday, Wendy's also announced it will explore strategic options for its Baja Fresh Mexican Grill chain and look to return cash to investors through dividends or share buybacks.

Last year, fellow hedge fund Pershing Square pressed for major changes at Wendy's, including the spin-off of doughnut chain Tim Horton's. Wendy's plans to complete a spin-off of Tim Horton's by the end of the year, which could raise as much as $667 million.

Apparently not content with its victory at Wendy's, Trian is now nominating five board members at food giant Heinz, the ketchup-maker said today. Heinz saw its share price decline 14% last year in spite of returning $1 billion to investors through dividends and share buybacks.