The FINANCIAL -- DUBLIN, Ohio, Aug. 16, 2018 -- The Wendy's Company announced that it has accepted an offer from Inspire Brands to sell its 12.3% ownership interest in the company back to Inspire Brands for $450 million. The agreement was approved by The Wendy's Company Board of Directors and represents a 38% premium on the Wendy's Company's previous valuation of the investment.
The Wendy's Company is the world's third-largest quick-service hamburger company. The Wendy's system includes approximately 6,500 franchise and Company-operated restaurants in the United States and 28 countries and U.S. territories worldwide.
"The sale of our stake in Inspire Brands for $450 million is a great return on this investment for our shareholders," said Nelson Peltz, Chairman of the Board of Directors. "Over the past seven years, Wendy's and its shareholders have benefitted from more than $100 million in distributions and the monetization of this investment carries a 38 percent premium over its most recent valuation."
"We have benefited from and enjoyed our partnership with Inspire, and we wish Paul Brown and the team continued success in the future," said Todd Penegor, Wendy's President and Chief Executive Officer. "The opportunity to monetize our investment in Inspire Brands will allow us to invest in future growth for the Wendy's brand and Company, which is our top priority. The flexibility provided by the sale proceeds and the additional share repurchase authorization through 2019 will also allow us to continue to create value for our shareholders."
Use of Cash
The Company views this transaction as one that will provide the Company future flexibility to invest in the growth of the Wendy's® brand and Company and increase its share repurchase program. The Board of Directors has authorized a new share repurchase program for up to $100 million of the Company's common stock through December 27, 2019. This is in addition to the Company's current $175 million share repurchase authorization, expiring March 3, 2019, which had $93.1 million remaining as of August 1, 2018. Further details will be provided as the Company develops additional plans to utilize the proceeds from this transaction.
The Wendy's Company sold its 12.3% ownership interest in Inspire Brands for $450 million. The Inspire investment had a carrying value of zero. As a result, the Company is expecting approximately $335 million of cash proceeds net of tax.