Restaurant operator Cosi files for bankruptcy protection

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Sept 28 (Reuters) - Fast-casual restaurant chain operator Cosi Inc and its units filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday and said it would pursue a sale.

The Boston-based company, known for its homemade flat bread, has assets of $31.24 million and debt of about $20 million, according to a court filing.

Cosi said it had received about $4 million in post-petition debtor-in-possession financing to maintain operations during the Chapter 11 process.

The company said it had entered into a non-binding agreement with lenders AB Opportunity Fund LLC, AB Value Partners LP and entities affiliated with Milfam II LP under which the DIP lenders offered to buy Cosi's assets and serve as a "stalking horse" bidder in a sale process.

Cosi listed former Chief Executive R.J. Dourney as its biggest individual shareholder as of March 28, with a stake of about 5.4 percent. Cosi fired Dourney in August.

Cosi's shares last traded at 6.9 cents, compared with a 12-month high of $1.08 last October.

The case is in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts, Case No.: 16-13704. (Reporting by Jessica Kuruthukulangara in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr)

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