Cosi ends sale exploration

DEERFIELD Ill. Cosi Inc. will not be put up for sale, its board of directors said late Tuesday.

The parent of the namesake fast-casual sandwich chain last fall had formed a special committee [3] of directors and hired financial advisers to review various strategic alternatives, which often means a company is seeking to sell itself. However, the company said Tuesday the review had ended and that Cosi would remain a public company.

"After receiving and reviewing several proposals with respect to either a financing or acquisition transaction, and after an extensive review of the company's current and projected financial performance, the board determined that pursuit of the company's current business plan as an independent public company is the strategic alternative that offers the best opportunity to maximize shareholder value," the company said in a statement.

Cosi, which operates 97 stores and franchises 48 others, has suffered net losses for two years in a row. For its latest fiscal year ended Dec. 29, Cosi posted a net loss of $16.2 million, or 40 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $20.7 million, or 53 cents per share in 2007. Its 2008 revenue rose 0.8 percent to $135.6 million.

Cosi's stock price had fallen as much as 6 percent, to 32 cents per share, in trading Wednesday. During the past 52 weeks, the company's shares have traded between 15 cents and $3.24 per share.

Contact Dina Berta at [email protected] [4].