Chobani wants to expand business

Chobani wants to expand business

Chobani, the US-based yoghurt producer, has secured investment of US$750m from private-equity group TPG Capital to "fund future growth".

The privately-owned maker of Greek-style yoghurt announced the investment last night (23 April) after weeks of speculation over the future ownership of the business.

Chobani said the capital had come from TPG Capital and its "dedicated credit platform" TPG Opportunities Partners.

A report in The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, said TPG Capital is also receiving warrants that could see the private-equity firm take a stake in Chobani of up to 35% of the business. The warrants become equity if Chobani hits certain goals, the newspaper said. Chobani, formed in 2005 and now generating sales of over US$1bn a year, is hoping to go public as early next year, The New York Times added.

When contacted by just-food, Chobani refused to be drawn on the report. "We’re not commenting beyond the release that was issued today," a spokesperson said.

Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani's founder and now its CEO and chairman, said the investment from TPG Capital would allow it to continue its expansion. "This investment gives us additional resources to build on our momentum, fund our exciting new innovations and reach new people," Ulukaya said.

The investment will see TPG get "representation" on the Chobani board. Ulukaya will be chairman, although there was no information on the plans for the CEO post at Chobani. When asked by just-food, Chobani declined to comment.

TPG co-founder Jim Coulter said: "Hamdi and the team at Chobani have in seven years turned the vision of bringing a quality, nutritious Greek Yogurt to America into a highly successful business. We look forward to Chobani's future growth and expansion of the brand by bringing the skills we have developed in helping build companies like [apparel retailer] J. Crew and [department store group] Neiman Marcus."

Last week, Chobani announced plans to move into new food categories in the US. It also said it had expanded into new markets in Asia and Latin America.