(March 10) With Wendy’s International Inc. stock running at year-high levels, the Dublin, Ohio-based hamburger chain apparently wants to get out of the Mexican restaurant business.

Wendy’s said March 2 it would explore selling its struggling Baja Fresh Mexican Grill chain, a Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based company Wendy’s purchased in 2002 for $275 million.

According to media reports, Wendy’s, the third-largest hamburger chain in the U.S., will unload Baja Fresh — it also is accelerating plans to sell its Tim Horton’s coffee-and-doughnut unit by Dec. 31 — as a result of pressure for better returns from investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Partners and Sandell Asset Management Corp.

Wendy’s also has expanded its board of directors by three. Investment experts Jerry Levin, Peter Rothschild and Stuart Oran joined the board March 6, giving the board 15 members.

Wendy’s spokesman Bob Bertini declined to comment.

In December, Trian Partners informed the Securities and Exchange Commission of Wendy’s plans to spin off Tim Hortons by Dec. 31 and consider offers for Baja Fresh and the company’s interests in the Cafe Express and Pasta Pomodoro chains. Trian also said Wendy’s would trim costs at its hamburger units by $200 million.

Wendy’s has attempted to rejuvenate the 300-unit Baja Fresh chain, opting late in 2004 to shut down 20 underperforming restaurants. Wendy’s took a $19 million pretax hit that year in writing down the value of Baja Fresh.

“We are focused on growing revenues and improving profitability at the core Wendy’s brand,” Jack Schuessler, chairman and chief executive officer of Wendy’s, said March 2 in a news release.