Paula Deen cooks up $75M comeback deal - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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>>

  • Dispute over reclining seat diverts flight, again

    Dispute over reclining seat diverts flight, again

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:21 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:21:27 GMT
    Delta photoDelta photo
    A Delta Air Lines flight from La Guardia Airport to West Palm Beach, Florida, was diverted to Jacksonville because of a dispute between passengers over a reclining seat. Delta reportedly says the flight was diverted Monday night when a woman got into an argument with a passenger behind her when the woman was trying to recline her seat while the other passenger was trying to sleep on the tray table.
    A Delta Air Lines flight from La Guardia Airport to West Palm Beach, Florida, was diverted to Jacksonville because of a dispute between passengers over a reclining seat. Delta reportedly says the flight was diverted Monday night when a woman got into an argument with a passenger behind her when the woman was trying to recline her seat while the other passenger was trying to sleep on the tray table.
  • High school football player dies

    High school football player dies

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:12 AM EDT2014-09-02 11:12:05 GMT
    A 16-year-old high school football player from Staten Island is dead after collapsing during practice Monday, officials said. The teen's father says Miles Kirkland-Thomas collapsed Monday morning during practice for Curtis High School. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
    A 16-year-old high school football player from Staten Island is dead after collapsing during practice Monday, officials said. The teen's father says Miles Kirkland-Thomas collapsed Monday morning during practice for Curtis High School. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

  • Bill Clinton to appear in New Haven for fundraiser

    Bill Clinton to appear in New Haven for fundraiser

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:24 AM EDT2014-09-02 10:24:23 GMT
    Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to headline a rally in New Haven to raise money for Democrats running in elections across the country. Clinton is set to appear at the event at the Omni New Haven Hotel on Tuesday. He'll be joined by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who are seeking re-election in November.
    Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to headline a rally in New Haven to raise money for Democrats running in elections across the country. Clinton is set to appear at the event at the Omni New Haven Hotel on Tuesday. He'll be joined by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who are seeking re-election in November.

Powered by WorldNow

KSAZ-TV & KUTP
511 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phone: (602) 257-1234
Fax: (602) 262-0177

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