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Celebrity cook Paula Deen announced Wednesday a $75 million investment from Najafi Companies to her company called Paula Deen Ventures, in the hopes of revitalizing the star’s career.
The Associated Press reports that Paula Deen Ventures will take charge of Deen’s assets that include her restaurants, cookbooks, and home products. Her investor, CEO of the private equity firm Jahm Najafi, has confidence his investment will prove fruitful. His other successful ventures include the Phoenix Suns basketball team, and the Book of the Month Club. In a recent statement he remarked: "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.”
According to ABC News, Deen’s career suffered last year when former employee Lisa Jackson filed a racial and sexual lawsuit against her. Deen reached a settlement with Jackson the following August, but was soon dropped by the Food Network and Smithfield Foods after a legal transcript of her admitting to using racial slurs was made public.
Though she refused to comment on the deal, Deen did name associate Steven Nanula to serve as CEO of Paula Deen Ventures.
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