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Sale ends Arby’s-Wendy’s marriage

(Wilfredo Lee/ Associated Press/ File 2010)
Associated Press / June 14, 2011

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NEW YORK — The marriage of square burgers and roast beef sandwiches is about to end.

Yesterday, Wendy’s/Arby’s Group said it will sell a majority stake in its struggling Arby’s brand to Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta private equity firm. It’s the end of a short-lived union between the two fast-food chains. Arby’s was the suitor three years ago, but now ends up on the chopping block.

Chief executive Roland Smith said the 2008 merger had “absolutely not’’ been a failure, “but any business that continues to do well and perform has to be nimble and adapt to what the market is.’’

Wendy’s/Arby’s shares rose 4 cents to $4.56 as investors signaled modest pleasure with having more clarity about the company’s future. But the shares remain well below $5.90, their price on the day the combination was announced.

Roark, which already owns Moe’s Southwest Grill, Cinnabon, and other properties, will pay $130 million for an 81.5 percent stake in Arby’s. It will assume $190 million worth of Arby’s debt.