Pizza chain Papa John's UK has sold its Perfect Pizza brand to a management buyout team.
Smartfirst, led by former Perfect Pizza managing director Tony Sheriff, has purchased the chain of over 100 stores for an undisclosed sum.
Papa John's, which has more than 3,000 stores worldwide, believes it is now big enough to go it alone and increase its presence in the UK.
It currently has 89 franchises in the UK and plans to open 20 more during 2006, with a similar pipeline promised over the next few years.
Papa John's managing director Daniel Cousineau said: "The last two years have seen Papa John's make very significant progress as a brand in the UK. Our strategy is now to focus on the development of the brand to ensure it prospers as it should."
by Chris Druce