The queen of Southern cooking is trying to reclaim her throne.
Celebrity chef Paula Deen has partnered with private equity firm Najafi Cos. and formed a new company called Paula Deen Ventures. Her equity partner has made an investment of between $75 million and $100 million into the new business, which is looking to conclude merchandising agreements with retailers and TV networks, the Wall Street Journal notes.
The move comes less than a year after a scandal over her past use of racial epithets cost Paula Deen millions of dollars in endorsements and her popular Food Network TV show. Paula Deen merchandise was also dropped by number of retailers, including Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT).
Despite her fall from public grace, Paula Deen has maintained a strong following on social media and recent store appearances in Texas and New York were attended by large crowds. Paula Deen hopes to leverage her remaining fanbase to rebuild her empire.
Najafi Cos. specializes in brands that have fallen “out of popular favor.”
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