papa john's John Schnatter
  • Papa John’s founder and ex-CEO John Schnatter is reportedly in talks with private equity firms to repurchase the pizza chain he departed from earlier this year.
  • CNBC said some firms have turned him away, worried about reputational risks, following his admission of using the N-word on a company conference call in May.

Papa John’s surged 10% Wednesday after CNBC reported its former CEO, John Schnatter, has been reaching out to private equity firms as he eyes buying back the company he founded in 1984.

“Several private equity firms have turned him down though, concerned about of the reputational risks inherent in partnering with him” CNBC’s Lauren Hirsch reports.

“Meantime, those interested in buying Papa John’s do not believe that working with Schnatter is the best path towards a winning offer, some of the sources say.”

Schnatter, who still owns nearly a third of the pizza chain, resigned from its board in July after admitting to…