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Originally published March 11, 2014 at 2:24 PM | Page modified March 13, 2014 at 7:11 AM

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Pizza chain Papa Murphy’s plans $70M IPO

Papa Murphy’s, the Vancouver, Wash.-based chain of pizza outlets, plans to raise as much as $70 million in an initial public offering of stock.

Seattle Times business staff

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Papa Murphy’s Holdings, the Vancouver, Wash.-based chain of pizza outlets, hopes to raise as much as $70 million in an initial public offering of stock, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday.

The company, controlled by private-equity firm Lee Equity Partners, claims to be the largest take-and-bake pizza chain in the nation.

It has 1,418 franchised and company-owned stores, and reported a net loss of $2.6 million last year on total revenues of $80.5 million, up 20 percent from the previous year. Those revenues were divided almost equally between company-owned and franchised stores.

Franchised stores are 95 percent of the total; collectively, all the stores generated $785.6 million in sales last year, more than twice the 2004 level.

Papa Murphy’s has plenty of company in seeking its slice of a bubbling market for new stock offerings. Completed U.S. IPOs are running 82 percent ahead of this time last year, while IPO filings are up 208 percent, according to Renaissance Capital.

The preliminary filing does not indicate how many shares Papa Murphy’s aims to sell, or at what price. It also doesn’t say whether Lee Equity or two other investors that own more than 5 percent of the company will be selling any shares.

Those investors have already reaped millions: The company paid $31.5 million in dividends to certain shareholders in October, on top of $36 million the previous year.

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