By Stephen M. Silverman
August 03, 2001 01:50 AM

Grammy-winning superstar Whitney Houston, 37, has signed a multi-album record deal with Arista, her label of long standing. The music company announced that the contract was worth in excess of $100 million, which apparently surpasses Mariah Carey’s recent deal with Virgin Records, said to be worth about $80 million. “I am so excited with this new deal and I’m looking forward to going into the studio soon to start work on my next album,” Houston said in a statement Thursday. “Arista Records has been my home since the beginning of my career.” Since her debut in 1985, Houston has been the label’s best-selling artist, having sold more than 140 million records worldwide and charting numerous No. 1 hits, including “The Greatest Love of All,” “I Will Always Love You” and “Saving All My Love For You.” Her most album of original material, “My Love Is Your Love,” sold more than 1 million copies, although it was not as successful as her previous discs. The singer’s reputation was also tarnished last year after prosecutors in Hawaii said that they found marijuana in her purse at the airport. She was charged with a petty misdemeanor for drugs, a charge that was dismissed earlier this year, after a drug counselor told the court that Houston did not require treatment for substance abuse. She is expected to head into the studio within a few weeks to begin work on the first of six new albums (including two compilations) she is to provide under her new deal.