Paula Deen cooks up $75M comeback deal - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Paula Deen cooks up $75M comeback deal

Posted: Updated:

By RUSS BYNUM

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Paula Deen has found a key ingredient to bringing some sizzle back to her career — a cash infusion worth at least $75 million from a private investment firm.

The Savannah-based celebrity cook announced Wednesday that she's launched an umbrella company that will oversee her restaurants, cookbooks, product endorsements and other remaining slices of her media empire. The new company, called Paula Deen Ventures, said private-equity firm Najafi Companies is investing $75 million to $100 million to help Deen make a comeback.

Deen's fortunes took a dive last year after comments she made under oath during proceedings in a lawsuit, namely that she had used racial slurs in the past, became public. The Food Network dropped Deen, as did pork producer Smithfield Foods, book publisher Ballantine and several other companies that paid her to endorse their products.

In a statement, Deen praised the partnership with Phoenix-based Najafi and the decision to name Steven Nanula, who has already worked with Deen for the past two years, to serve as CEO of Paula Deen Ventures.

"I know this is the right decision to lead my team, as we continue to share quality products with my fans — whose love and support have built my brands," Deen said.

Jahm Najafi, CEO of the Najafi Companies, said his firm has great respect for Deen's past success and is confident its investment will pay off. Others brands to benefit from Najafi's investments include the Phoenix Suns pro basketball team, the Book of the Month Club and SkyMall, the direct marketing business aimed at travelers.

"We know that the enterprise will be successful and valuable, as Paula and her team continue to bring quality products and experiences to her loyal fan base," Najafi said in a statement.

A publicist for Deen told The Associated Press she was not available for an interview.

Deen's image took a crushing blow last summer when a transcript of a legal deposition Deen gave to attorneys in a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee was made public. Deen was asked under oath if she had ever used the N-word. "Yes, of course," Deen replied, though she added: "It's been a very long time."

The lawsuit was settled out of court in August. Terms were never disclosed.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • New SAT: What will those questions look like?

    New SAT: What will those questions look like?

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:05 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:05:28 GMT
    Calculate the foreign exchange rate a vacationing American would pay in India. Estimate from a random sample the number of 18- to 34-year olds who voted for a candidate. These are sample questions from the newly redesigned SAT, which aims for more real-world applications and analysis from students.
    Calculate the foreign exchange rate a vacationing American would pay in India. Estimate from a random sample the number of 18- to 34-year olds who voted for a candidate. These are sample questions from the newly redesigned SAT, which aims for more real-world applications and analysis from students.
  • Pizza man attacked, shoots would-be robber

    Pizza man attacked, shoots would-be robber

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 4:34 PM EDT2014-04-16 20:34:37 GMT
    New York State NewsNew York State News
    This guy packs more than pepperoni. Police say a masked robber is in the hospital after a pizza delivery man shot at a gang of would-be thieves. Police tell local media outlets that the delivery man brought a pizza to a house around 10:30 p.m. Monday and was met in the front hallway by a man wearing a mask and hoodie.
    This guy packs more than pepperoni. Police say a masked robber is in the hospital after a pizza delivery man shot at a gang of would-be thieves. Police tell local media outlets that the delivery man brought a pizza to a house around 10:30 p.m. Monday and was met in the front hallway by a man wearing a mask and hoodie.
  • Giant whale pulled out of Jersey City harbor

    Giant whale pulled out of Jersey City harbor

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 2:04 PM EDT2014-04-16 18:04:35 GMT
    A whale that was found dead earlier this week in New York harbor has been transported to the Caven Point Marine Terminal in Jersey City.
    A whale that was found dead earlier this week in New York harbor has been transported to the Caven Point Marine Terminal in Jersey City.   The United States Army Corps of Engineers successfully extracted the 60 ton giant from the water around on Wednesday. 
Powered by WorldNow

25 FOX Drive
Dedham, MA 02026

Phone (781) 467-2525

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices