Day: August 3, 2016

Irony alert: Taco Bell franchisee PAC among few to give maximum campaign donation to Trump

TACO PAC, the political action committee of the fast-Mexican chain’s franchisees, is one of only five PACs to max out their contributions to GOP White House nominee Donald Trump,  with $5,000 — the most allowed under Federal Election Commission regulations.

Taco Pac logoDespite its bipartisan-looking logo, the Yum unit franchisees’ PAC has been leaning very right for the past eight years, according to Food & Wine magazine.

“In 2008,” it says, “TACO PAC donated a total of $24,500 to political candidates — $20,000 to Republicans, $4,500 to Democrats. In 2010, in an off-year election no less, it donated a total of $299,250 to candidates — $293,250 to Republicans, $6,000 to Democrats.”

So far this year, TACO PAC has donated $53,625 to Republicans and $3,500 to Democrats, according to the magazine.

Foodie site Grub Street notes the irony in the Pac’s $5,000 donation to the New York billionaire, “because Taco Bell’s mantra involves making a run for a border that Trump would at least attempt to wall off.”

Reaching a new record high, Schnatter’s Papa John’s stake jumps past $800 million for the first time

John Schnatter

This afternoon, Papa John’s stock soared to a new record closing high of $77.38 a share, up 4.6%, or $3.37, on a better-than-expected second-quarter report. That’s good news for all shareholders (except for the shorts, of course!) — but none more so than founder and CEO John Schnatter. He’s the pizza chain’s single-biggest stockholder, with 10,455,981 shares — 27.6% of all, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents.

Papa John’s shares have staged a huge comeback since hitting a 52-week closing low of $45.50 on Feb. 3. Here’s the value of Schnatter’s stake that day compared to its rising value the day after each of the past three quarterly earnings reports:


Feb. 3


Feb. 23


May 3



Schnatter, 54, founded Papa John’s in 1984, right after graduating from Ball State University with a business degree. More than 30 years later, it’s now a fast-food goliath with 4,700 restaurants worldwide — including more than 1,200 international ones in 37 countries and territories. It has 750 employees in Louisville, and another 21,000 across the globe. The company went public in 1993. More about Papa John’s.

In new SEC filing, Humana warns investors about DOJ suit and possible ‘abandonment’ of $37B merger

The Louisville-based health insurer added new language to the “Risk Factors” section of its quarterly 10-Q report filled today with the Securities and Exchange Commission, about the Department of Justice’s lawsuit last month blocking Humana’s $37 billion merger with Aetna of Hartford. Here’s what the new section says.

Humana and Aetna logos 250On July 21, the DOJ filed a civil antitrust complaint (which we refer to as the DOJ action) against us and Aetna in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, charging that the merger would violate Section 7 of the Clayton Antitrust Act and seeking a permanent injunction that would prevent the Merger. The filing of the DOJ action is delaying, and, if we and Aetna are unsuccessful in defending against or settling the DOJ action, could ultimately prevent, the consummation of the merger. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in defending against or settling the DOJ action or that the merger will be consummated by any particular time, if at all.

In addition, even if we and Aetna enter into a settlement with respect to the DOJ action, there can be no assurance that we and/or Aetna will not be required to agree to terms, conditions, requirements, limitations, costs or restrictions that could further delay completion of the merger, impose additional material costs on or limit the revenues of the combined company, or limit some of the synergies and other benefits we presently anticipate to realize following the merger. We cannot provide any assurance that any such terms, conditions, requirements, limitations, costs or restrictions will not result in a material delay in, or the abandonment of, the merger.

Papa John’s loses court ruling on Panera exec poaching, and stock hits record high; Humana nails Q2 revenue and earnings; and Taco Bell’s three-step entry to new foreign markets

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 8:42 p.m.

PAPA JOHN’S: A federal judge sided with restaurant chain Panera Bread and issued a temporary restraining order barring a former IT executive from working at Papa John’s. U.S. District Judge John A. Ross said Panera would likely win its lawsuit, filed last month, accusing former vice president Michael Nettles of violating his noncompete agreement and misappropriating trade secrets by taking a job as the chief information officer at the Louisville pizza chain (Law 360).

Also today, Papa John’s shares closed at $77.38, up 4.6%, or $3.37, after the chain reported second-quarter results beating Wall Street forecasts after markets closed yesterday afternoon. Earlier today, the stock hit a new record intraday high of $78.09 before easing back. The company has also filed its quarterly 10-Q report with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

HUMANA: Racing to save its $37 billion merger with Humana, Hartford-based Aetna has urged a judge to hear its case in the fall — and before considering a second merger of two other insurance companies that Justice Department antitrust enforcers are trying to stop (Reuters).

Earlier today, Humana reported second-quarter results that beat forecasts on both the top and bottom lines. Revenue was $14 billion vs. $13.7 billion a year ago, and adjusted earnings per share were $2.30 vs. $1.77. Analysts were expecting $13.6 billion in revenue and $2.21 EPS. The Louisville-based health insurer also reaffirmed its full-year 2016 financial guidance increase on July 21 to earn $9.25 a share vs. the previous $8.85 EPS. Humana’s stock closed at $173.48, up $3.91, or 2.3%.

Bruce Broussard

“Our second quarter and year-to-date results show the improvement in the effectiveness of our clinical programs and increasing clinical engagement by our members,” CEO Bruce Broussard said in the earnings release. “The improved health outcomes from these programs is not only lowering healthcare costs, but allowing more affordable options for our Medicare members.”

The insurer said it wouldn’t hold a customary conference call with analysts to discuss the report because of the pending merger with Aetna, and doesn’t expect to hold any in the quarters ahead, either (press release and MarketWatch).

Finally today, Humana filed its second-quarter report with the Securities and Exchange Commission — the full 10-Q (SEC document). Humana has 12,500 employees in Louisville and about 50,000 nationwide; more about the company.

TACO BELL follows a three-step process to decide whether to enter a foreign market for the first time, according to Pizza Marketplace:

  1. Move a team to the city under consideration to learn what everyday life is like in the target city, including how people get to work and what they do for fun.
  2. Get to know the locals through focus groups to see how outsiders can become part of the community.
  3. Cook and prepare food to understand what flavors work — and don’t work. In Tokyo, for example, prospective customers wouldn’t order nachos and cheese because they didn’t they want to get messy. Solution? Nachos became seasoned chips with dipping sauces.

Wag n' Wash logoIn other news, franchiser Wag n’ Wash of Denver expects its first Kentucky pet food and grooming store to open soon in Louisville with an in-house bakery menu that includes pumpkin ravioli, sushi, pies and cakes using human-grade ingredients (Courier-Journal). This will be Wag n’ Wash’s 15th store since opening in 1999.

The former publisher of The Voice-Tribune — Tracy Beale, formerly Tracy Blue — is launching online magazine TAB’s View next month with a staff of six, including herself. She left the Voice-Tribune last winter amid her high-profile divorce from the weekly’s then-owner, Blue Equity CEO Jonathan Blue. Blue Equity recently sold the Voice-Tribune and other publications to the owner of LEO (Insider Louisville).