Papa John’s Pizza does not want its founder to get the ‘controlling’ slice. So, it has prepared the “poison pill”.
John Schnatter resigned as the firm’s chairman this year after admitting to using a racial slur in a conference call. But he now accuses the board of inadequate investigation into the matter, which he claims to have resulted in his forced resignation based on “rumor and innuendo”.
Schnatter is still on the Papa John’s board, and owns 30% stake in the firm alongwith and his associates. His attorney has said that any attempt to remove Schnatter from the board without a "proper vote of the shareholders will be null and void."
But the board is not willing to give up without a fight. It is ready with what’s touted as a “poison pill” – a strategy which is designed to prevent anyone from acquiring a controlling stake through the purchase of common shares of the firm, if not approved by the board. It intends to implement the pill if Schnatter and his associates increase their stake to 31% or anyone tries to buy 15% stake through the open market if the company does not approve. In these events, existing shareholders would be allowed to buy up shares at a discount, thereby diluting the stakes of Schatter or others. Papa John’s poison pill plan is scheduled to last one year.