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Judge Clears Planet Hollywood to Emerge From Bankruptcy

January 22, 2000|GREG HERNANDEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A federal judge Friday approved Planet Hollywood International Inc.'s reorganization plan, the final step needed to allow the movie-themed restaurant chain to emerge from bankruptcy.

Robert Earl, the company's co-founder and chief executive, said a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Delaware approved a plan that had been largely worked out with major creditors before the company filed its Chapter 11 petition in October.

"It's a very good day for us," Earl said. "We are back in the game."

The company, which is closing its Beverly Hills restaurant next month, will expand immediately in Los Angeles, most likely in Hollywood. The new store would bring the number of Planet Hollywood restaurants in the U.S. to 22.

"I'm very keen on Hollywood Boulevard," Earl said. "We are looking for a location that has pedestrian traffic, something we don't enjoy in Beverly Hills, where we were in isolation. Hollywood Boulevard would be a perfect fit."

He said his Orlando, Fla., company will make an announcement on the new site within two months. The company had closed its Santa Ana restaurant and eight others nationwide last fall as it went into bankruptcy.

The chain would like to open a restaurant in Anaheim, but Earl said no deals are in the works. "If we go into that market, you would expect us to be in Disneyland," he said.

The company's stock was removed from the New York Stock Exchange in August. It closed Friday at 16 cents a share, up 1 cent, on the OTC Bulletin Board.

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