Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA) has been on quite the roller coaster the last twelve months. It started with its founder, John Schnatter, making a public political opinion in regards to one of its biggest sponsors’ decisions.
The pizza company has been a long-time sponsor of the National Football League (NFL). The past two years, the NFL has been dealing with controversial kneeling during the National Anthem of players bringing to light the nation’s racial injustices. In July of 2018, Schnatter made a public racial slur and graphic description of violence against minorities in an interview.
From that moment on, the company’s board has tried removing Schnatter from the company. Their efforts have worked, as he stepped down from CEO and a ‘poison pill’ was even introduced. Still, the company’s stock took a sharp fall, and its sales went right along with it.
Papa John’s Rebound
In the fall, the company announced that they were looking for buyers, which brought investor trust in the company up along with its shares. Bidders started backing out of the deal in November, however, and the stock began to tank once more.
Earlier this month, Papa John’s announced that it wasn’t happy with the acquisition offers and evaluations it was receiving and is now seeking funding instead. Surprisingly, the company has received a $200 million investment from Starboard Value and a new Chairman.
Papa John’s released big news two days ago that has heads scratching, but it may turn out well for the company. The company released a new tuition benefit program for its 20,000 corporate team members. The new tuition education program is offered in partnership with Purdue University. The new program, Dough and Degrees, will cover 100% of tuition costs of graduate and undergraduate online degree programs for the company’s corporate team members.
“People are our most important ingredient and we are always looking for new ways to make Papa John’s a better place to work,” said Steve Ritchie, President and CEO of Papa John’s. “We believe this is a truly unique tuition program in our industry. We’re excited to partner with such a well-respected institution to help us deliver on such a robust career growth opportunity for team members who want to pursue their goals to further their education.”
With sales down, it remains unknown at this time how ‘Dough and Degrees’ will help Papa John’s stay afloat. Investors seem pleased with this pivot though as the stock is currently trading green.
PZZA Stock Movement
According to Yahoo Finance, PZZA is currently trading at $44.92 a share, up +$1.42 (+3.25%).
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