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John Schnatter’s stock sales trim his Papa John’s stake to 19%

Pizza brand’s former CEO, founder held 31% of shares earlier this year

Since stepping down from the Papa John’s International Inc. board in March, John Schnatter has continued to sell shares in the pizza brand he founded, trimming his stake from a high of 31% of shares to less than 19%, according to recent financial filings.

According to a May 21 Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Schnatter sold about 3.4 million shares worth about $157.4 million at an average $45.62 each. Schnatter currently has an 18.9% stake in Papa John’s and remains the largest individual shareholder in the company.

Schnatter began the process of shedding his shares in the Louisville, Ky.-based company earlier this month when he solicited the aid of financial advisers to sell all or part of his majority stake in Papa John’s. On May 15, Schnatter sold 114,061 Papa John’s shares, worth about $6 million, or 1.1%, of the total 9.9 million shares he owns.

Schnatter originally stepped down as CEO of Papa John’s in December 2017 following controversial comments during an earnings call in which he blamed National Football League protests for Papa John’s struggles. Following 2018 reports of racist language, he resigned as chairman of the board. After more than a half a year of legal battles, Schnatter and Papa John’s came to a settlement agreement in March and have all but completely cut ties.

Although analysts believe that he is likely to sell more shares in the future, the May 21 SEC filing indicates that he will not be doing so over the next 90 days during a “lockup period.”

“On May 21, 2019, Mr. Schnatter entered into a block sale with UBS Financial Services Inc. and entered into a lock-up with UBS for a period of 90 days,” the SEC filing read. “As a result, he does not intend to make any further sales of common stock during the lock-up period.  Based on his analysis of, among other things, investment considerations, economic conditions and public disclosures made by the Issuer, Mr. Schnatter may after the lock-up period, sell, trade or otherwise dispose of additional shares of his common stock.”

The lockup period will end on Aug. 19.

Papa John’s and a representative for John Schnatter did not respond in time to request for comment.

As of March 31, Papa John’s had 5,336 locations worldwide.

Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi

TAGS: Finance
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