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Wednesday, August 18, 1999 Published at 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK

Business: The Company File

Rocky times for Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood may be on the ropes, but its backers are hopeful of a happy ending

Celebrity restaurant chain Planet Hollywood is filing for bankruptcy protection in the US as its cash problems mount.

The chain, whose investors included film stars Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, said the move would give it breathing space to carry out a major restructuring plan.

[ image: Bruce Willis and Demi Moore were on hand at the Paris launch]
Bruce Willis and Demi Moore were on hand at the Paris launch
It intends to keep running its global chain of restaurants and merchandise shops while introducing cost-cutting measures and selling excess assets.

The revamp will be funded by a $30m (£17.6m) investment package.

This will be provided by Planet Hollywood's founder and chief executive Robert Earl plus major investors Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, of Saudi Arabia, and Singaporean property magnate Ong Beng Seng.

In return they will receive a 70% stake in the reorganised company.

[ image: Robert Earl says he believes there is still a bright future for the concept]
Robert Earl says he believes there is still a bright future for the concept
Mr Earl said: "We are confident we are taking the necessary steps to revitalise our Planet Hollywood operations, and this plan will allow us to continue implementing our strategy.

"We remain committed to providing consumers with an exciting and unique dining experience, including great food at great prices, and we believe this restructuring will put us in a position to do just that for many years to come."

The bankruptcy filing is the latest setback for the operator of nearly 80 movie-themed Planet Hollywood restaurants.

President William Baumhauer resigned in June, just three months after the company's co-founder, Keith Barish, sold nearly half his stock and resigned his board position.

It also suffered last year when its restaurant in Cape Town, South Africa, was bombed. One diner was killed and 27 others injured.

[ image: The celebrity backing has made Planet Hollywood a popular choice for diners]
The celebrity backing has made Planet Hollywood a popular choice for diners
Mr Barish started the venture in 1991 with Mr Earl and Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis and his wife Demi Moore.

The company has been trying to cut its operating costs, but despite these measures, analysts say aggressive expansion and increased competition have hurt the business.

Last week, it reported a second-quarter loss of $28.2m.

The Planet Hollywood concept has spawned a number of imitators, with celebrities from the worlds of fashion and sport.

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