I have made big bucks with WEN when tim hortons spun, when Dave died the stock started the spiral, he was a hands on CEO, was not afraid of work, cut his teeth working for Col Sanders, Read Daves book that he wrote before his death
Sentiment: Strong Buy
My un-adjusted chart shows a $27 drop on Jan 2nd, 2004. In Dec of 2003 was the Mad Cow Disease scare but that wasn't it. If you go to Yahoo historical prices you will find a special dividend of $21.50 in Sept 2003. It was more than just the one dividend, but what you are seeing is just an "adjustment", nothing more I think. If it had been a real drop in price you would also see huge volume; I don't see that on my chart.
Just for yucks, I tried the "split" version of your question to see if that was the case; I can tell you for sure that it was not due to a stock split.
I went to Yahoo Finance "Basic Technical Analysis" and selected "max" for a chart range (so that 2003 comes into view) then I selected "splits" from overlays. When it displays the chart with any splits, it shows "Splits : none" at the bottom of the chart. So, there were no splits to cause the drop.
2 ways to find your answer (if it's important enough for you):
1.) contact WEN investor relations with your question.
2.) contact an analyst from some reputable site or your broker as they might keep info from that far back.
One other thing, there WAS that incident which happened with someone finding a finger in their chili. I think that they actually found out that the incident was fraudulent in some way, but investors NEVER wait for the truth to be told in situations like that. Shoot first, ask questions later; right? I checked to see if that happened in 2003, but it didn't. That incident happened on March 24, 2005 and it turned out the person claiming to have found the finger was making a fraudulent claim. The finger had come from some other person involved in an animal accident and the woman, Anna Ayala had somehow come across it and used it in an attempt to sue Wendy's.
Your broker would probably have the best answer to get to the bottom of whatever happened in 2003.
BOL to you. :-)