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Investor gives Deen $75 million

Paula Deen has found a key ingredient to bringing some sizzle back to her career – a cash infusion worth at least $75 million from a private investment company.

The Savannah, Ga.-based celebrity cook announced Wednesday that she’s launched an umbrella company to oversee her restaurants, cookbooks, product endorsements and other remaining slices of her media empire.

The new company, Paula Deen Ventures, said private-equity firm Najafi Cos. is investing $75 million to $100 million to help Deen make a comeback.

Deen’s fortunes took a dive last year after comments she made under oath during proceedings in a lawsuit – namely, that she had used racial slurs in the past – became public. The Food Network dropped Deen, as did companies that paid her to endorse their products.

Deen praised the partnership with Phoenix-based Najafi and the decision to name Steven Nanula, who has worked with Deen for the past two years, as CEO of Paula Deen Ventures.

– Associated Press

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