The Southern chef is giving it another go with the help of a new investor

By Sheila Cosgrove Baylis
February 12, 2014 04:55 PM
Wilford Harewood/NBC/Getty

Paula Deen is ready to make a comeback.

Deen’s new company, Paula Deen Ventures, has received an investment between $75 million and $100 million from Najafi Cos., The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Arizona-based private-equity company led by Jahm Najafi, who owns the Book-of-the-Month Club and BMG Music Service, hopes to help the Southern chef establish new deals and break away from her current business model, which is based on licensing her celebrity image to others.

The chief executive of Deen Ventures, Steven Nanula, told The Wall Street Journal the company is in talks with possible partners, including TV networks, but the Food Network is not one of them.

Deen was dropped by the Food Network and many of her sponsors last June after she admitted to using a racial slur, although she apologized and said she didn’t condone racism.

In December, Deen said “I’m gonna be really, really happy to see 2013 gone,” and added that the crisis was a learning experience, calling the previous six months an “opportunity to grow.”