Wendy's to sell 640 restaurants

5 stunning stats about the fast food industry
5 stunning stats about the fast food industry

Wendy's announced plans Wednesday to sell 640 of its company-owned restaurants in the United States and Canada.

The sales are a part of the burger chain's plan to reduce the number of company-owned locations.

The company hopes to sell the restaurants to franchisees. Wendy's stock rose 7% on the news.

It intends to sell 380 restaurants this year and another 260 in 2016. The company is working with a private equity group to manage the sale, which will be directed at existing Wendy's franchise owners.

At the end of 2014, Wendy's had a total of 6,515 restaurants worldwide.

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CEO Emil Brolick said the goal is to "drive further growth opportunities for expanded restaurant ownership to strong operators." He expects the deal to generate up to $475 million in cash.

Wendy's (WENDY) is also selling its bakery in Zanesville, Ohio, where it makes buns.

Related: Upstart burger chains are eating McDonald's lunch

The news came as Wendy's reported first-quarter financial results that topped Wall Street's expectations.

The company said sales rose 3.2% at both franchise and company owned stores. However, earnings fell 40% to $27.5 million, though it beat analysts' estimates.

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