DUBLIN, Ohio – Thirty Wendy’s Company restaurants – 29 existing restaurants and one restaurant currently under construction – have been sold to BB St. Louis LLC, a partnership headed by former National Basketball Association great Junior Bridgeman, who is a current Wendy's franchisee, and NBA star Chauncey Billups.

Thanks to this transaction, Bridgeman, who is Wendy's second-largest franchisee, will now have total or partial ownership of 196 Wendy's restaurants. This deal represents Billups' initial entry into the restaurant industry.

This sale is an important part of Wendy’s ongoing brand transformation – which includes reimaging and developing new restaurants, a new Wendy's logo, innovative products and bold new packaging, said Emil Brolick, Wendy's president and chief executive officer. Most recently, the company announced an initiative to optimize its restaurant portfolio by concentrating its ownership geographically via the sale of about 425 company-operated restaurants to franchise operators. Completion of these transactions is targeted for the end of the second quarter of 2014.

"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."