LAFAYETTE, La. – American Restaurant Concepts Inc. acquired a 50 percent interest in Paradise on Wings Franchise Group LLC, the franchisor of Wing Nutz restaurants, in exchange for cash and stock. Lafayette, La.-based American Restaurant Concepts is the owner and operator of Dick's Wings & Grill restaurants.

Salt Lake City, Utah-based Wing Nutz is a franchisor of sports-themed restaurants offering premium baked chicken wings, baked sandwiches, and other baked foods. Wing Nutz also has a line of craft beers sold under the "Nut Job Beers" brand.

"We are pleased to have acquired a significant ownership stake in Wing Nutz as part of our strategy to drive growth and shareholder value by expanding into other brands," said Richard Akam, CEO of American Restaurant Concepts. "The Wing Nutz brand of premium baked chicken wings and other quality baked products complements our current Dick's Wings offering and expands our reach into the western half of the United States. This transaction increases the number of restaurants in which we have a financial interest by almost 70 percent, from 16 to 27, and will contribute greatly to our bottom line. We look forward to working with Will Miller and Will Owens and their team at Wing Nutz as we continue to grow our respective brands."

Wing Nutz currently has 10 restaurants in Utah and one restaurant in Idaho. Additional locations are slated to open in Utah and Las Vegas, Nev., while an additional six restaurants are in the works in other western states.

In a separate but related transaction, Blue Victory Holdings, a Louisiana-based private-equity firm, acquired a 50-percent ownership interest in Wing Nutz Development LLC, which owns the operating assets and liabilities associated with running the Wing Nutz franchisees.