Executives at Wendy's ( WEN) have suddenly become fast friends with their most vocal agitator, Nelson Peltz. The embattled burger chain, having recently reported its worst sales performance in 18 years, on Thursday abandoned its stand against Peltz's Trian Fund and other activist shareholders. In a reversal, the fast food company said it plans to speed up the spinoff of its Tim Hortons doughnut chain, explore strategic alternatives for its Baja Fresh Mexican chain and add three of Trian's nominees to its board. The move amounts to an admission by management that its strategy is failing, or at least is a last-ditch attempt to stay in control of the company. It opens the door for Peltz's people to come in and make big changes, and it could mark the first step toward an eventual takeover. "If I'm a regular shareholder, I think Nelson Peltz is going to add value," says Howard Davidowitz, chairman of New York-based retail consultancy Davidowitz & Associates. "Wendy's has been underperforming for a long time, so it's good to see action." Shares of Wendy's recently were trading up $2.21, or 3.8%, to $60.65. Peltz sounded a reversal of his own in response to Wendy's capitulation. "We are excited that the new directors will work with the board to further enhance shareholder value at Wendy's," said Peltz in a press release. "We are now highly supportive of Wendy's management team and their initiatives, and we believe that these new board members will contribute to Wendy's plan to improve its profitability." That's a far cry of his earlier criticisms of Wendy's management via a proxy fight. In a December filing, Peltz said Wendy's plans for a partial spinoff of Tim Hortons amounted to "an attempt to avoid shining the spotlight on the poor financial performance of Wendy's business" that "would perpetuate a highly inefficient and costly conglomerate structure."