DUBLIN, OH-With its turnaround taking hold, Wendy’s International Inc., is exploring strategic alternatives that could include a sale, merger, or no change at all, the chain announced prior to its first quarter conference call.

The company has announced the formation of a special committee of independent directors to explore “all possible” strategic alternatives, including a sale, merger or changes to its capital structure.

“The board has a responsibility to consistently seek to improve the value of this company for the shareholders and all its constituencies,” said Kerrii Anderson, CEO and president. “We have delivered a lot of value, and a number of shareholders and analysts have come up with suggestions and questions. This team will execute its strategies and continue to do it well.”

Cost-cutting and improved comps have returned the chain to profitability, even as Wendy’s keeps tight control over its store openings. The company and its franchisees opened 11 new restaurants during the quarter, and closed 26.

“At the end of the year we will open as many restaurants as we close,” Anderson said.

In the quarter, revenues were $590.2 million, up 2% from the first quarter of 2006. Same-store sales rose 3.8% for US company-operated restaurants and 3.7% for US franchise restaurants. The chain reported income from continuing operations of $14.5 million, compared to a loss from continuing operations of $5.9 million in the first quarter of 2006.

At the end of the quarter, Wendy’s had 6,658 restaurants in the US, Canada and overseas.

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