Sunday, 21 December 2014
Last updated 1 day ago
Feb 12 2014 | 10:24am ET
Private-equity firm Najafi Cos. specializes in businesses "out of popular favor"—and celebrity chef Paula Deen's certainly qualifies.
The Phoenix-based firm has invested as much as $100 million in Deen's new company, Paula Deen Ventures. The infusion will allow Deen to focus more on new deals in which she has greater ownership and control, rather than the licensing model she's utilized to date.
That system worked brilliantly for Deen until last year, when she was fired by the Food Network and lost dozens of endorsement deals after she admitted to using a racial slur. But Jahm Najafi told The Wall Street Journal that he doesn't see the investment as much of a risk, given Deen's strong base of fans.
"The important thing to remember is that her fan base is rabid," Najafi said. "Her Facebook fan base has more than doubled in the past year. The Paula Deen brand is alive and well."
"Our investment allows the Paula Deen brand to expand their relationships and the partnerships that are already in place, and support those partnerships on a go-forward basis," he added.
Steven Nanula, whose Nanco Group has worked with Deen before, will serve as CEO of the new company. He told the Journal that Deen Ventures has been in talks with television networks, retail chains and other potential partners.
Dec 1 2014 | 10:21am ET
As 2014 winds down, Northern Trust Hedge Fund Services executives took some time to share their outlook on trends facing the industry in 2015. Read more…
Jeff Sprecher was simply looking for a platform to trade energies when launching ICE 14 years ago but it has grown to reach the pinnacle of both the listed futures and equities world.