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No details were provided in the brief press statement about Schnatter's stake in the company. As of March, Schnatter was its largest shareholder by a wide margin, holding more than 9.45 million shares of Papa John's, or roughly 29.4 percent of its outstanding shares.

Schnatter founded Papa John's in 1984 and opened the company's first restaurant in 1985. The pizza chain is the nation's fourth-largest by systemwide sales, trailing Domino's, Pizza Hut and Little Caesar's.

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