The massive market transformation this month that some on Wall Street called a "once in a decade opportunity" might have just been a one-off technical move because of taxes.Marketsread more
The Pentagon will deploy U.S. forces to the Middle East on the heels of the attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced...Defenseread more
CNBC did a deep dive through the most recent Wall Street research to find stocks that analysts say are underappreciated.Marketsread more
Shares of MasterCard are up 46% this year, and 1120% since 2011, getting a boost from the strong U.S. consumer.Investingread more
CNBC sat in on an "empathy training" at Amazon PillPack's Somerville offices, which is part of new hire orientation.Technologyread more
Trade with China is the 'big unknown' for the Federal Reserve as it decides how best to support the U.S. economy, says Council on Foreign Relations Director of International...Futures Nowread more
Lobbying experts said the visit is likely an attempt to be in lawmakers' ears as they consider legislation that would impact Facebook.Technologyread more
Yardeni Research's Edward Yardeni believes the U.S. economy is picking up steam.Trading Nationread more
Iran's audacious drone and cruise missile attack on Saudi Arabia's oil producing facilities has provided a critical test yet for the Trump administration's foreign policy. A...Politicsread more
Chinese trade negotiators suddenly canceled a visit to meet U.S. farmers after they wrapped up trade talks in Washington this week.Marketsread more
John Schnatter is having trouble letting go.
The ousted founder of the Papa John's pizza chain has reached out to a number of private equity firms in recent weeks to discuss partnering in a bid to buy the company, sources familiar with the situation told CNBC.
Schnatter, who already owns roughly 30 percent of Papa John's, is looking for capital to help support an offer, sources said. Several private equity firms have turned him down, though, concerned about the reputational risks inherent in partnering with him. Meantime, those interested in buying Papa John's do not believe that working with Schnatter is the best path toward a winning offer, some of the sources said.
Schnatter was ousted as chairman in July, when racially charged comments he made on a conference call in May leaked to the press. Since then, he has been locked in a bitter battle with the company's board, whom he has accused of staging a coup to force his exit. The restaurant chain also adopted a defense mechanism known as a "poison pill" to prevent a hostile takeover from Schnatter or others.
A spokesman for Schnatter denied the report.
"John Schnatter has not reached out to or had any discussions with any private equity firm or any other entity about buying Papa John's," he said in a statement. "Any such report about a potential transaction involving Mr. Schnatter is totally and completely false."
As it grapples with its public relations crisis, shares of Papa John's have fallen nearly 40 percent over the past year. The restaurant chain earlier this year hired Bank of America and Lazard as financial advisors as it looks to clean up the mess.
Papa John's shares rose Wednesday more than 7 percent after CNBC reported Schnatter's interest in buying the company.
Papa John's is actively talking with potential buyers, the sources say, cautioning a sale process is still in its early stage and may not ultimately result in a sale. It has already sent out materials about the company to potential buyers, one of the sources added.
A thorn in any sale, however, is Schnatter's stake, with potential buyers leery of purchasing a company in which he continues to be involved, the sources say. It remains unclear how Papa John's will address that issue.
Despite its public relations challenges, the restaurant remains a desirable target, should questions around its ownership be resolved, sources say. Pizza is one of the few food items that, like hamburgers, scales well internationally. With sufficient investments in technology, there may be opportunity to revive the brand to echo the resurgence enjoyed by Domino's after its own technology investments.
Challenges, meantime, include a franchisee base that is fretting over the brand's future and a company built on the back of football, as viewership of the sport declines. It also recently warned that falling sales put it in jeopardy of breaching a loan covenant, though its capital structure would likely be reworked in the event of a sale, one of the sources said.
The most likely buyers for Papa John's include Wendy's, Restaurant Brands International and Inspire Brands, which is majority backed by private equity firm Roark. The Inspire empire includes Arby's, Buffalo Wild Wings and Sonic, once its $2.3 billion acquisition of the burger chain closes later this year.
The sources requested anonymity because the information is confidential. Papa John's declined to comment.