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Uno Restaurant Holdings Files Bankruptcy in New York

(January 20, 2010 - Bloomberg)—Uno Restaurant Holdings Corp., the operator of 99 Uno Chicago Grill casual-dining restaurants, filed for bankruptcy reorganization, blaming the recession and a drop in consumer spending for decreased sales.

Uno, based in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, said in papers filed today in bankruptcy court in New York that it has reached an “agreement in principle” to exchange $142 million in debt for equity in a reorganized company. The company is controlled by New York-based Centre Partners Management LLC, which owns 66 percent of its common stock.

The rest of the privately held company is owned by investors including its founder, Aaron Spencer; members of his family; and former company officers and directors, Uno said in court papers. Uno, known for its Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, was founded in 1943.

As of Sept. 27, Uno said, it had assets of $144.6 million and $171.8 million in long-term debt. Sales in the preceding 12 months were $286.9 million. The company had a $22.2 million net loss in fiscal 2009 following a $15.1 million net loss in 2008.

Besides the 99 company-owned restaurants, 76 are operated by franchisees, which didn’t file for bankruptcy. There are also 215 kiosks operated by franchisees under the name Uno Express. The company-owned restaurants are in 28 states, mostly in the eastern U.S.

The worst U.S. economic slump since the Great Depression has forced some restaurant chains to restructure as diners stay home. Standard & Poor’s Rating Services withdrew its credit rating from closely held Uno on Jan. 9 after the company said it would no longer provide the necessary financial information.

U.S. Foodservice Inc. was listed as the unsecured creditor with the largest claim, with $1.8 million in trade debt.

The case is In re Uno Restaurant Holdings Corp., 10-10209, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Campbell in London at mcampbell39@bloomberg.net; Bob Van Voris in New York at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net.

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