IRVINE – The Irvine-based parent of the Claim Jumper restaurant chain announced today it is selling substantially all of its assets and operations to an existing investor through a pre-arranged Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing to eliminate debt.

The 45 Claim Jumper eateries, which are located throughout the West Coast and parts of the Midwest, will remain open during the reorganization, company officials said.

Claim Jumper Restaurants LLC reported it has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Private Capital Partners, an existing investor in the company. It is an affiliate of Los Angeles-based Canyon Capital Advisors LLC, an alternative asset manager with about $18 billion in assets under management.

Claim Jumper Restaurants is expected to emerge from Chapter 11 in 60 to 75 days, according to Chief Executive Officer Mark Augarten.

“We are excited about the prospect of quickly implementing the sale through the Chapter 11 process, which will allow us to emerge within two months as a company with zero debt, thereby providing the recapitalized business with stability and greater financial flexibility to promote future growth and success,” he said.

Augarten said “operations will continue just as they always have during the sale process.”|

“We will continue to pay our valued employees as well as our vendors for post-petition purchases of goods and services in the normal course of business,” he said. “It will be business as usual while we complete the sale transaction.”

Claim Jumper Restaurants opened its first location in Los Alamitos in 1977 and has nearly four dozen eateries in eight states.