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Papa John Now Owns Only 4% of Papa John's

By Daniel B. Kline - Apr 1, 2020 at 9:18AM

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The controversial figure no longer has any role at the company he founded.

Papa John's (PZZA 3.69%) founder John Schnatter got forced out of the company he founded after a number of controversies. That led to lawsuits, a lot of mudslinging back and forth, and, finally, an agreement between the pizza maker and the man who launched it.

That deal removed Schnatter, known commercially as Papa John, from any operating role in the company. Yet he remained a significant shareholder -- until now.

A person delivers two pizzas.

Image source: Getty Images.

What did Papa John do?

The founder of the pizza chain has divested much of his stake in the company. The company filed SEC documents to show that his holdings have fallen below the 5% threshold which requires him to issue reports on his holdings:

This filing is being made to update Mr. Schnatter's holdings and ownership percentages previously disclosed on Amendment No. 37. On March 24, 2020, Mr. Schnatter's holdings of Common Stock of the Issuer fell below five percent (5%) of the total issued and outstanding shares of such Common Stock. As a result, Mr. Schnatter's obligation to file reports on Schedule 13D under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, has terminated, subject to any future reporting obligations that may arise.

For shareholders of the company, this simply means that Papa John's divorce from the brand he founded has become even more final.

Moving on

Schnatter was a drag on Papa John's for a long time. He had been the face of the brand in addition to being its CEO and, most recently, its chairman, which made his personal missteps impact the brand more directly than if he had been a behind-the-scenes executive. This filing shows that both the company and its founder have moved on -- and that's best for both.

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