Paula Deen is ready to make a comeback, and in a big, big way.
Her new company, Paula Deen Ventures, received an investment between $75 million and $100 million from Najafi Cos., according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Arizona-based private-equity company who invested in Paula is led by Jahm Najafi, who owns the Book-of-the-Month Club and BMG Music Service.
It hopes to help the Southern chef establish new deals and break away from her old business model, which was based on licensing her celebrity image to others.
The chief executive of Deen Ventures, Steven Nanula, said the company is in talks with possible partners, including in the TV space ... just not Food Network.
Deen was fired by the Food Network and many of her other sponsors last year after she admitted to using a racial slur during a deposition she gave for a lawsuit.
The slur was not related to the lawsuit, which was later dismissed, nor is it clear how the deposition leaked to the media. Regardless, Deen got the chop.
She apologized and said she didn't condone racism, but the damage was done. In December, Deen said, "I'm gonna be really, really happy to see 2013 gone."
On the flip side, she said the Lisa Jackson lawsuit and ensuing crisis was a learning experience, calling the previous six months an "opportunity to grow."
Looks like she's about to get that chance in very significant terms.
While many of her previous sponsors wanted nothing to do with Paula Deen recipes, some well-heeled backers clearly think there's a major market for them.
Do you agree? Will you support Paula? Did you ever? Discuss!