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).

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