Chobani founder puts brakes on stake sale

Josh Kosman

New York Post

5th February 2016

New York dairy king Hamdi Ulukaya has stopped looking for a partner to invest in his Chobani Greek yogurt empire, The Post has learned. For the past seven months, the founder and CEO has been trying to sell a minority stake in the closely held company to a strategic investor and pitched snack and soda giant PepsiCo, among others, according to sources. But Ulukaya was not willing to offer potential investors a path to control of the company — an obstacle for some.

“Chobani formalized a process to hear offers after being approached by several strategics throughout 2015,” a spokesman said. “Throughout this process, it received several offers. “We took our time with this process, conducted thorough due diligence, and in the end, we didn’t like the terms and don’t need the capital given our performance.

” The Post reported exclusively in November that . The money raised by such a sale — at a $3 valuation — would have allowed Ulukaya to pay off TPG Capital, the private equity firm that with a $750 million loan. Ulukaya and TPG haven’t exactly seen on the business, according to sources.

“This process was neither launched nor designed as a response to TPG’s investment in Chobani,” the Chobani spokesman said. Rather, the company said it was seeking to find an investment partner to its entrance into new markets and categories. Chobani’s recent performance will help it with growth initiatives, such as purchasing three more production lines for its Flip yogurts and formally entering Mexico in April, the spokesman said.

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