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Cheesecake Factory halts stock buyback plans

CALABASAS HILLS Calif. The Cheesecake Factory Inc. has temporarily stopped the repurchase of its company stock to conserve cash during the “unprecedented crisis in the global financial markets,” according to a regulatory filing Thursday.

The company said it suspended its stock repurchase plan and terminated executive authorizations for pre-arranged stock buybacks in a decision to “maintain maximum flexibility in its capital decisions,” a move it called a “prudent and appropriate action.”

This year, through Oct. 16, Cheesecake Factory had repurchased 9.6 million shares of its common stock for about $172 million. The company has 7.9 million additional shares remaining under the temporarily suspended 31 million share repurchase authorization, it said. Earlier this year, The Cheesecake Factory had announced plans to repurchase between $150 million and $200 million of its common stock during fiscal 2008.

The Cheesecake Factory has about 64.7 million outstanding shares and its per-share stock prices had traded between $9.28 and $24.75 during the past 52 weeks. The company operates 143 casual-dining restaurants under The Cheesecake Factory, Grand Lux Cafe and RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen brands.

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