The Wendy’s Company (NASDAQ: WEN) today announced the sale of 30 restaurants in the St. Louis market to BB St. Louis, LLC, a partnership headed by current Wendy’s franchisee and former National Basketball Association great Junior Bridgeman, along with current NBA star Chauncey Billups. The transaction includes 29 existing restaurants and one restaurant currently under construction.
With this transaction, Bridgeman, who is Wendy’s second-largest franchisee, now has total or partial ownership of 196 Wendy’s restaurants. This represents Billups’ initial foray into the restaurant industry.
Wendy’s President and Chief Executive Officer Emil Brolick said the sale is an important part of the Company’s ongoing brand transformation – which includes reimaging and developing new restaurants, a new Wendy’s logo, innovative products and bold new packaging. The latest element of the transformation is the Company’s recently announced initiative to optimize its restaurant portfolio by concentrating its ownership geographically via the sale of about 425 Company-operated restaurants to franchise operators. The Company is targeting the end of the second quarter of 2014 for the completion of these transactions.
“We are expanding our relationship with successful, well-capitalized franchisees with strong operating credentials and a commitment to our Image Activation reimaging program,” Brolick said. “We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Junior Bridgeman, and he is an exceptional person, an excellent operator and very committed to building a ‘people’ culture. In addition, we are eager to welcome Chauncey to the Wendy’s family.”
“Chauncey Billups and I are excited about our partnership in the Wendy’s system,” Bridgeman said. “We have a tremendous opportunity in the St. Louis market, and our goal is to build upon the positive momentum and growth that the Wendy’s brand is currently experiencing.”
Included in the agreement between Wendy’s and BB St. Louis is a requirement to reimage certain restaurants in the Company’s new Image Activation design. The agreement also includes a development plan for new restaurants.