Hey! Wendy's (NYSE:WEN) is considering a sale, according to headlines today. But investors can't be blamed for shrugging and saying, "So what?" since this isn't exactly news. What is news, of course, is a bit less optimistic -- Wendy's cut its earnings estimates for 2007.

Now, Wendy's expects to report earnings per share of $1.09 to $1.23 per share, a far cry from previous guidance of $1.26 to $1.32 per share. Lower-than-planned same-store sales and higher-than-expected commodity expenses are taking this biggie bite out of the company's outlook.

You may recall that back in April, Wendy's shares surged on speculation of a buyout; the company had formed an exploratory committee dedicated to looking at "strategic options." Today's news does give reason to believe that the company is looking to this as a more likely "strategic option" all the time.

I've long been pretty bearish about Wendy's, though; I've had it marked "underperform" in my Motley Fool CAPS page for quite some time (and that's admittedly been a losing call thus far). After it got rid of Tim Hortons (NYSE:THI) and the struggling Baja Fresh, I just couldn't imagine what its driver for growth would be, and that does, indeed, seem to be the case. The company faces lots of competition from rivals like McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), Burger King (NYSE:BKC), and Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM), although that's understating the size of the competition for the fast-food crowd. There are also companies like Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) and Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA) that would like to address consumers' hankering for quick meals.

Even with the reduction in its earnings estimates, Wendy's is still expected to report an increase in earnings per share on a year-over-year basis. Of course, that isn't hard to do, considering last year's earnings dropped 56% to $0.32 per share after having been on the downtrend over the last several years.

Of course, it's future growth that we investors are looking for, and Wendy's is expected to grow earnings over the course of the next few years after a couple rough ones -- but it's not hard to see why uncertainties might prevail at the moment, given the competitive landscape and a more certain path to try to sell the company. Wendy's forward P/E of around 33 sounds like a high price to pay, given lackluster performance and a rather unsure view of how growth will pan out, and I can't help but think it's a good idea to steer clear of Wendy's now that buyout mania has become a bit of a shopworn concept.  

For more on the Wendy's saga, check out:

Chipotle Mexican Grill is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. The company's B shares are recommended by Motley Fool Hidden Gems.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.