Chobani files confidentially for IPO

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Emma Hayes

There I was in a hot yoga studio with plenty of bright natural light and bending myself into pretzel like positions for the very first time.

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Dive Brief:

  • Greek yogurt giant Chobani filed a confidential registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a potential initial public offering, the company said.
  • The company revealed no details of the filing in a press release. There was also no information on proposed company valuation, how many shares of common stock might be offered, and what their price might be.
  • Chobani has long been rumored to be eyeing an IPO, with The Wall Street Journal reporting people close to the company were looking at potential valuations of $7 billion to $10 billion earlier this year. Chobani is the most recent food company to be filing for a traditional IPO in a relatively active year. Dole and Zevia have both completed filings in the last month, and alternative dairy pioneer Oatly went public in May.

Dive Insight:

Chobani’s long-rumored entrance into the public markets took its biggest step yet with the draft registration statement with the SEC. 

Should the maker of Greek yogurt officially move forward with an IPO, the New York-based company would likely raise hundreds of millions of dollars that it could use toward expanding its reach beyond its signature dairy product. The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Chobani was seeking a listing that would value the company at $7 billion to $10 billion.

While Chobani is synonymous with the Greek yogurt category it helped popularize, the food company has been rapidly expanding its product offerings into oat- and plant-based options, ready-to-drink coffee and creamers. It hasn’t lost sight of its key yogurt offering either, rolling out in June a Greek yogurt without sugar to cater to consumers looking to eat healthier and curtail their intake of the sweetener.

“We’ve got a lot of plans to go beyond yogurt,” Peter McGuinness, president of Chobani, said last summer. “We absolutely have accelerated [our innovation] and there is no turning back because you can’t plateau or you go backward, which is why we’re just continuing to set a higher bar. Expect us to continue this pace for quite a while.”

For Chobani, going public would open its finances to the close scrutiny of Wall Street investors. Under founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani has benefited as a private company because it had more control over how it handled its money, allowing it to potentially take more risk without having to worry about public shareholders. Now, investors would have a bigger say in its direction.

Chobani has more than $1.5 billion in annual revenue, according to Bloomberg. 

While it’s not known exactly how much Chobani would raise, the money would likely go toward creating new products to further create a food and beverage company focused on better-for-you offerings beyond yogurt. Chobani also potentially could use the cash to acquire a more traditional food company, such as a bar maker, to expand its portfolio. 

In addition, going public would boost Chobani’s access to capital-raising opportunities while at the same time expanding its investor base and increasing the liquidity of its stock so investors could get in and out of the shares more easily, making it a more attractive investment.

Chobani’s food and beverage offerings place it against other food heavyweights in dairy, such as Danone, General Mills’ Yoplait and Nestlé. It has touted its use of real ingredients, which should remain a valuable selling point with consumers, especially after the pandemic. 

A public listing would mark what has suddenly become a hot market for next-generation food companies. 

Plant-based food maker Beyond Meat was the first to go public in 2019, and has seen its stock and sales soar since its IPO. Swedish oat milk maker Oatly went public in May and today is valued at more than $13 billion. Impossible Foods also is reportedly preparing for a public listing that could value the plant-based burger maker at around $10 billion, according to Reuters.



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author

Emma Hayes

There I was in a hot yoga studio with plenty of bright natural light and bending myself into pretzel like positions for the very first time.

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