Exclusive: buyout firms Bain, CVC compete for Papa Johns – sources

FILE PHOTO: The Papa John's Business in Westminster, Colorado, U. August 1, 2017. REUTERS / Rick Wilking

(Reuters) – Bain Capital and CVC Capital Partners are among the private equity firms bidding to acquire Papa John's International Inc (PZZA.O), the world's third largest pizza delivery company, said on Tuesday familiar people.

The buyout interest in Papa Johns comes in a struggle for control with founder John Schnatter, who owns about 30 percent of the company. He resigned as chairman in July after reporting that he had used racist denigration during media training.

Since then, Schnatter has sought ways to regain influence, and asked Papa John in a letter earlier this month to change a poison pills provision he has adopted so that he can engage with bidders who had expressed interest in speaking to him ,

Private equity firms KKR & Co Inc (KKR.N) and Roark Capital also competed for Papa Johns, with firm offers expected in the coming weeks.

Hedge fund Trian Fund Management LP, an investor in the fast food chain Wendy's Co (WE NO) has expressed interest in Papa Johns is considering a possible investment in Papa Johns, should a deal for the sale of the company can not be achieved, the sources said.

A special committee set up by Papa John's Board of Directors examines a sale as part of a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives, and there is no assurance that the company will agree to a sale if the sources requested are not identified The matter is confidential.

Papa John, Bain, CVC, KKR and Roark did not comment while Trian did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin and Harry Brumpton in New York; Additional reporting by Greg Roumeliotis; Arrangement of Susan Thomas

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