Celebrity chef Paula Deen has been in hot water since reports first surfaced that she had made racially derogatory remarks and made plans for a wedding that included black men dressed as slaves. The first company to cut ties with the popular pitchwoman was the Food Network, owned by Scripps (SCI.) Since Food Network distanced themselves from Deen, sponsors have been dropping her left and right.
Home Depot (HD), Sears (SHLD) and Target (TGT) all announced plans to withdraw her line of cookware from its stores. QVC dropped her. Wal-Mart (WAL) removed her name from four buffet-style restaurants and quit carrying her products. Smithfield Foods are going to quit using her image to promote their hams. Caesars Entertainment Group (CZR) are rebranding her restaurants. And Novo Nordisk (NVO) – who chose Deen to be the face of their diabetes drug Victoza and initially supported her in the aftermath of the controversy – finally released a statement that they were firing her to “giv(e) her time to focus her attention where it is needed.”
But while sponsors are dropping the disgraced star like a hot rock, some companies and consumers are standing behind her proudly. Epicurean Butter, Sandridge Food, and Tasty Blend all offered statements of support. And Deen’s cookbook Paula Deen’s New Testament has shot to #1 on the Amazon best-seller list.
Deen has proven to be deeply divisive, as the mere act of retaining or dropping her services has become a political act. So we thought it might be interesting to look at two competing portfolios: one made entirely of companies that support Deen or otherwise benefit from her persona, and one of companies that have distanced themselves from the embattled cooking show star.
The Pro-Paula Deen Stock Portfolio
Kroger (KR) Deen lists on her website that her line of foods is carried at “America’s leading retailers, ranging from Kroger to Target to Wal-Mart.” While Target and Wal-Mart have fled, Kroger still carries the embattled Southern star’s foods. Kroger is up .64 percent to $34.70 a share, and has been gaining steadily all year, jumping 25 percent since January.
Amazon (AMZN) – Amazon hasn’t issued a statement one or the other regarding Deen, but they have also made no plans to carrying her product lines, and her fans are showing their support by skyrocketing her cookbook to the top of their charts. Amazon dropped .55 percent to $276.04 a share, but has been a reliable performer since its 1997 IPO.
Dean Foods (DF) – While the Dallas Texas-based food conglomerate isn’t directly tied to Deen, they are one of America’s largest butter distributors. And if Paula Deen is known for one thing it’s touting all things butter. Deen Foods oversees the popular Land O’ Lakes brand, among other dairy products. Dean is up .90 percent to $10.10 a share, but the stock was recently cut in half after spinning off WhiteWave Foods.
The Anti-Paula Deen Stock Portfolio
Scripps Network (SNI) The controlling parent company of the Food Network, which gave Deen its first crack at stardom. They were also the first company to dump her. Scripps Is up .91 percent to $66.32 and recently hit their 52 week high. TheStreet calls Scripps a “buy.”
Caesars Entertainment (CZR) The casino chain dropped Deen in a terse statement, saying they “reached an agreement with Paula Deen Enterprises not to renew the business relationship.” Caesars is up 4.69 percent to $13.39 a share, correcting a monthly slide that’d seen their stock drop over 20 percent.
Target (TGT) The fast-growing big box retailer is axing her line of cookware from its stores nationwide. Target is down .33 percent to $68.88, but the stock has historically been strong. Target has a market cap of $44.5 billion, and their stock has been moving steadily up since dropping as low as $25.65 in 2009.
Wal Mart (WAL) The world’s biggest discount retailer joined Target in dropping her lines. Wal Mart is up .42 percent to $75.42 a share. This stock has been rising more or less steadily for awhile, posting gaining 37 percent in value from three years ago.
Novo Nordisk (ADR) This Danish drug company had made Deen the face of their injectable, non-insulin diabetes drug Victoza. Now they’re scrambling to scrub Deen off their promotional materials. Novo Nordisk is up 1.55 percent to $157.41 a share, but is down from a high of $192.29 in February.
[Image via Flickr]