Shares of Papa John’s rose as much as 16 percent in after-hours trading following the news.
Papa John’s has been exploring a sale after the company took a hit due to founder John Schnatter’s controversial comments on a conference call, which came to light in July.
Even before Schnatter’s controversy, Trian co-founder Nelson Peltz brought him to a meeting with Wendy’s executives in June to discuss a possible deal.
Although Schnatter’s image has been scrubbed from Papa John’s marketing materials and he stepped down as chairman, he remains on the board and holds a nearly 30 percent stake in the company.
Representatives for Papa John’s and John Schnatter both declined to comment.