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    John Schnatter's Stake in Papa John's is Shrinking

  • His ownership is down to 19 percent from 31 percent.

    Papa John’s
    John Schnatter said earlier he solicited financial advisers help to sell all or part of his stake in Papa John’s.

    Papa John’s founder John Schnatter, who hasn’t had a formal role at the company since April, is quickly shrinking his stake. According to a regulatory filing Thursday, Schnatter has unloaded 3.8 million shares since early May, and now owns about 6.1 million. His stake in Papa John’s is down to 19 percent from roughly 31 percent.

    Most recently, Schnatter sold $157.5 million of his stock, or 3.4 million shares, as part of a private placement sale with UBS. Schnatter earned $157.5 million from the deal and also agreed to not sell any more until August 19. The other 400,000 or so shares were shopped on the open market. On May 15, an SEC filing revealed that Schnatter dealt $6 million worth of stock, or 1.2 percent of his stake.

    READ MORE: Papa John’s turns to Shaq, value to reignite sales.

    Here’s a look at Schnatter’s disposal of shares so far.

    • May 10: 114,061 shares sold
    • May 14: 42,783 shares sold
    • May 14: 600 shares sold
    • May 15: 156,700 shares sold
    • May 16: 78,428 shares sold
    • May 21: 3,451,413 shares sold

    Schnatter said earlier he solicited financial advisers help to sell all or part of his stake in Papa John’s. His term as director expired the previous week and he did not seek reelection. Papa John’s also terminated Schnatter’s contractual rights as its founder under the founder’s agreement. In turn, he no longer had a formal role within Papa John’s.

    It was about 10 months ago when Schnatter exited as Papa John’s chairman in the wake of a report he used a racial slur on a conference call with then-marketing agency Laundry Service. Sales have been in flux over the past year.

    The company swung a first quarter net loss of $3.8 million, or 12 cents per share, down from net income of $17.4 million, or 52 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

    Same-store sales declined 6.9 percent, which did mark the third consecutive period of improvement.

    • Q1 2019: –6.9 percent
    • Q4 2018: –8.1 percent
    • Q3 2018: –9.8 percent
    • Q2 2018: –6.1 percent
    • Q1 2018: –5.3 percent

    Papa John’s posted Q1 revenues of $398.41 million compared to the year-ago figure of $427.37 million.

    CEO Steve Ritchie said Papa John’s could take 12–18 months to emerge from its downturn.

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