Papa John’s is plunging after report says private-equity firm is no longer interested

Papa John’s was plunging Tuesday afternoon following a report suggesting the private-equity firm Trian Fund Management is no longer interested in a deal.

Shares fell more than 12% after The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that Trian has pulled out of the bidding for the pizza chain and that no bidders were interested in buying the entire company. The WSJ did say that several private-equity firms were interested in partial stakes. Bain Capital, CVC Capital Partners, KKR & Co, and Roark Capital are among the other firms who have reportedly been linked to the pizza chain.

Papa John’s problems date back to late last year when Schnatter slammed the NFL for “poor leadership” and blamed player protests for a slump in sales. He resigned as CEO in December after facing backlash for his criticism of the league. They fell

The stock has has had a difficult 2018, falling as much as 32% in the wake of founder John Schnatter’s resignation as chairman in May, after it was discovered that he used a racial slur during a company conference call.

In July, the board of directors then created a poison pill designed to prevent Schnatter – who still owned a 29% stake in the pizza chain – from taking the company back over.

The stock would slide to a four-year low of $38.05 in August before recovering after the pizza chain announced it was reviewing its strategic alternatives, including a sale. It topped out at more than $60 in the middle of November before Tuesday’s plunge pushed it back below $50.

Papa John’s was down 14% this year.

Papa John's

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