UPDATE 2-Wendy's to sell 500 outlets to franchisees to cut spending

Tue Feb 3, 2015 11:23am EST
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* Sale to generate $400mln-$475 mln in pretax proceeds

* Estimates 4th-qtr revenue of $502 mln vs est $509.1 mln

* Forecasts 2015 adj profit of $0.33-$0.35/shr vs est $0.39

* Shares touch more than 7-yr high of $11.50 (Adds details and analyst comment, updates shares)

Feb 3 (Reuters) - Wendy's Co, the No. 3 U.S. hamburger chain by sales, said it would sell about 500 restaurants to franchisees and reduce company ownership of its outlets to about 5 percent by mid-2016.

The company's shares rose as much as 10.5 pct to a more than seven-year high of $11.50 in early trading.

Wendy's, known for its square beef burgers and thick "Frosty" milkshakes, has been selling company-owned restaurants to franchisees to cut costs and fund a long-term image overhaul.

The company, which sold 237 restaurants to franchisees in 2014, owned 957 of 6,515 Wendy's branded restaurants as of Dec. 28.

The sale of the 500 restaurants is expected to generate pretax proceeds of $400 million to $475 million and significantly reduce capital expenditure requirements, Wendy's said in a statement on Tuesday.   Continued...