The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settled charges against The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated for making misleading disclosures about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business operations and financial condition. The action is the SEC’s first charging a public company for misleading investors about the financial effects of the pandemic.

As set forth in the SEC’s order, in its SEC filings on March 23 and April 3, 2020, The Cheesecake Factory stated that its restaurants were “operating sustainably” during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the order, the filings were materially false and misleading because the company’s internal documents at the time showed that the company was losing approximately $6 million in cash per week and that it projected that it had only 16 weeks of cash remaining. The order finds that although the company did not disclose this internal information in its March 23 and April 3 filings, the company did share this information with potential private equity investors or lenders in connection with an effort to seek additional liquidity. The order also finds that, although the March 23 filing described actions the company had undertaken to preserve financial flexibility during the pandemic, it failed to disclose that The Cheesecake Factory had already informed its landlords that it would not pay rent in April due to the impacts that COVID-19 inflicted on itsbusiness.

www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2020-306