PHOENIX, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Paula Deen was down, but her new $75 million investment deal shows she's far from out.
The celebrity chef and restaurateur, who fell hard from grace last year when her involvement in a racial discrimination lawsuit surfaced, has struck a deal with Phoenix-based Najafi Media to form a new company, Paula Deen Ventures.
The brand will include her restaurants, cookbooks, cookware, cruises and more.
Jahm Najafi, the founder and CEO of Najafi Media, said he has "a deep respect for the hard work, unique content and quality products which Paula has built around her brand."
The deal comes just months after the former Food Network star became embroiled in the lawsuit, which involved an ex-employee accusing Deen and her brother of throwing around racial epithets and forcing African American staff to dress as Jim Crow South-era servants.
The Food Network allowed her contract to expire, and Deen lost most of her sponsor deals, including JC Penney, Walmart and Kmart.
After the suit was dropped, Deen said she planned to "retool all of my business operations."