Daily News: January 25, 2012

Axum Capital Partners Acquires Wild Wing Cafe

Axum Capital Partners, a Charlotte-based private equity firm, announced that it has acquired a controlling interest in Wild Wing Cafe, a 32-unit restaurant company based in Mount Pleasant, SC. Fifth Third Bank provided debt financing for the transaction.

Wild Wing Cafe operates 11 corporate-owned restaurants and 21 franchised restaurants across North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas and Florida. For fiscal year ending December 31, 2011, Wild Wing Cafe generated approximately $100 million in system-wide sales. McGuireWoods represented Axum in the transaction.

Edna Morris, a managing director with Axum, will become the interim chief executive officer of Wild Wing Cafe. Morris is a 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry, having served as president of Red Lobster (Darden) and Quincy’s Family Steakhouse (Advantica). She was a founding member and the first president of the Women’s Foodservice Forum and also president of the James Beard Foundation, a non-profit organization that celebrates America’s culinary heritage. She is on the board of Tractor Supply Company.

Wild Wing Cafe founders Cecil and Dianne Crowley will retain an ownership stake in the company and will serve on the board. According to Cecil Crowley, he and his wife Dianne founded Wing Wild Cafe two decades ago. “We’re not flying the coop,” said Dianne Crowley. “We look forward to working with the Axum team to continue growing this wonderful brand.”

Axum Capital Partners is a private equity firm focused on making strategic equity investments in lower middle-market privately held businesses across North America.