Sold: Arby's Buys Wendy's for $2.34 Billion

Farber said the family had a supported an alternate bid led by Wendy's franchisee David Karam, president of Cedar Enterprises Inc.

"We knew what Dave Karam's commitment was to Wendy's, his family's commitment -- just as ours. His dad was a very good friend of our dad's and was one of the very first franchisees, so there's a lot of history."

Peltz, who runs the Trian Fund, and his allies own 9.8 percent of Wendy's stock. Arby's has more than 3,000 restaurants.

He had argued in a letter to Wendy's chairman James Pickett that Triac would be a natural buyer of Wendy's. Peltz gained three seats on the company's board last year.

Thomas, who died in 2002, opened his first restaurant in a former steakhouse on a cold, snowy Saturday in downtown Columbus on Nov. 15, 1969. He named the chain after his 8-year-old daughter Melinda Lou -- nicknamed Wendy by her siblings.

The smiling Thomas, always wearing a white short-sleeved shirt and red tie, touted the virtues of fast food in humorous ads, often featuring big-name stars such as bluesman B.B. King and soap opera queen Susan Lucci. He appeared in more than 800 ads.

Wendy's, based in suburban Dublin, operates about 6,600 restaurants in the United States and abroad. It trails McDonald's and Burger King Holdings Inc. in the burger business.

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