Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) (“Papa Johns”) today announced a partnership with FountainVest Partners, one of Asia’s leading independent private equity firms, to open more than 1,350 new stores across South China by 2040. The franchisee development agreement, the biggest in Papa Johns history and the largest master franchise deal announced in the pizza industry in recent years, is expected to greatly expand the Company’s footprint in China, one of the world’s fastest-growing pizza delivery markets.
FountainVest has also purchased a majority stake in current Papa Johns franchisee CFB Group, which owns and operates approximately 160 restaurants in Shanghai and across southern China. The addition of a committed new franchisee partner to the brand begins another strong year of development activity for Papa Johns, following last year’s major international and domestic development deals, accelerating store openings across all markets, and continued innovation and strong comparable sales growth globally.
“This partnership with FountainVest marks another major milestone in achieving Papa Johns global growth potential, reflecting both the scale of our brand’s global opportunity and the quality of franchisees that are investing in our future,” said Rob Lynch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Papa John’s. “Papa Johns has enormous global development whitespace in the US and in attractive growth markets, especially relative to our peers. Our new development agreement with FountainVest alone stands to grow Papa Johns current global unit count by 25%.”
Since 2007, FountainVest, a long-term oriented private equity firm, has focused on investing in businesses that benefit from the rising aspirations of the expanding Chinese middle class by partnering with industry leaders and executing relevant high-growth transactions.
“At FountainVest, our investment process begins by identifying growth-oriented, industry-leading enterprises that are aligned with the growth dynamics of the Chinese marketplace,” said Andrew Huang, Managing Director of FountainVest. “Papa Johns premium position offers an attractive opportunity in the QSR sector, which has already been proven in China and which we believe will continue to thrive. We look forward to working with the Papa Johns team as we rapidly scale the brand’s presence across China.”
Amanda Clark, Papa John’s Chief Development Officer, added, “FountainVest is exactly the kind of partner we look to help grow our brand internationally. They are well-capitalized, experienced operators with deep knowledge of their local market. They clearly recognize our brand’s promising outlook and strong unit economics. Together, we will bring our BETTER INGREDIENTS. BETTER PIZZA.® promise to millions of new customers in one of the largest QSR markets in the world.”