- Chobani has refused offers from PepsiCo and other investors after working with Goldman Sachs to potentially pursue the sale of a stake in the company.
- Chobani wanted to sell a minority stake and retain independence, but PepsiCo and others wanted a majority stake, Chobani told Reuters.
- Chobani first approached Goldman Sachs after working to overcome struggles following rapid expansion and financial losses due ramping up production years ago. Chobani has since resolved those issues and plans to self-fund an expansion of its Flip line and step into the Mexican market.
Coca-Cola had also previously been interested in acquiring a stake in Chobani, but Coca-Cola dropped out of those discussions in October.
Another potentially better fit for Chobani could be organic foods producer WhiteWave Foods. In November, WhiteWave reported a 17% jump in revenue to $1 billion, thanks in part to acquisitions like Wallaby yogurt and Vega Foods. Acquiring a stake in Chobani would be in line with WhiteWave's recent acquisition targets and growth strategy, and such a deal could help Chobani expand production and distribution capabilities.
However, selling a stake may not be a consideration anymore as Chobani faces a legal battle with General Mills and Dannon. The dispute is over Chobani's aggressive marketing campaign that targeted ingredients its competitors use in their Greek yogurt products, comparing them to Chobani's natural ingredients. Any negative attention and litigation expenses the case could bring may derail Chobani's ability to pursue a stake sale, at least for now.