• Chicago Pizza & Brewery raises millions through warrants sale

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- Chicago Pizza & Brewery Inc. (NASDAQ: CHGO) announced that 7.4 million of its redeemable warrants were exercised at a price of $4.89 per share, resulting in net proceeds to the company of $36.2 million.

In a company release, co-CEO Paul Monteko said the additional capital would strengthen the company's financial condition significantly and allow it to accelerate its growth plans.

"The cash from the warrant exercise, added to our existing cash balance, provides the company with over $43 million," Monteko said. The cash will be used to for expansion, working capital and debt reduction.

The company anticipates opening four to five restaurants this year and six to eight in 2003. Monteko also said it is examining opportunities for acquisitions that might fit the company's strategy.

Chicago Pizza & Brewery operates 28 casual dining restaurants, including 24 BJ's Brewhouse sites, and four Pietro's. Four BJ's units are under development.

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