Papa Murphy's goes out for IPO

Take-and-bake pizza chain aims to raise up to $70 million

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

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Vancouver-based take-and-bake pizza chain Papa Murphy's International has filed an initial public stock offering to raise up to $70 million, according to a Tuesday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined.

Papa Murphy's Holdings Inc. has applied for the ticker symbol "FRSH," according to the filing.

As of Dec. 30, the chain had 1,418 stores system wide, including 1,349 franchise stores and 69 stores owned by the company. The stores on average generated positive sales growth in 35 out of 40 quarters through 2013, according to the regulatory filing. That translated to $80.5 million in total revenue for fiscal year 2013, up from $66.9 million in 2012. Those revenues were divided almost equally between company-owned and franchised stores.

The filing says Lee Equity Partners owns 65 percent of the outstanding capital stock in the company. The New York-based company purchased those shares from majority owner Charlesbank Capital Partners for an undisclosed price in 2010. The filing doesn't say whether Lee Equity or two other investors that own more than 5 percent of the company will be selling any shares of the company. Investors in the company in October received $31.5 million in dividends in addition to $36 million the previous year.

Papa Murphy's was launched in 1995 with a merger between take-and-bake concepts Hillsboro, Ore.-based Papa Aldo's and Murphy's Pizza, started in Petaluma, Calif. Papa Murphy's operates 142 stores in Washington and 96 stores in Oregon.