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Chobani in talks with PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and others over sale of minority stake

By Elaine WATSON , 13-Oct-2015
Last updated on 13-Oct-2015 at 17:23 GMT2015-10-13T17:23:42Z

Chobani's Flip is the #1 brand in the 'mix-in' yogurt segment with a 35% share, claims the company
Chobani's Flip is the #1 brand in the 'mix-in' yogurt segment with a 35% share, claims the company

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola Co are among large CPG firms in talks to invest in Chobani in a deal that would value the Greek yogurt manufacturer at as much as $3bn, including debt, according to Reuters.

Reuters says the discussions reflect how the arch rivals are trying to diversify their portfolios as sales volumes of soda – particularly diet sodas – are stagnating as consumers seek a broader variety of options and brands.

Chobani, says Reuters, is exploring selling a minority stake, including warrants owned by private equity firm TPG Capital LP that account for 10-20% of its equity depending on its financial performance, and is looking for a strategic investor to help expand its supply chain, distribution, manufacturing base and geographic footprint.

Chobani, PepsiCo - which has a joint venture with German dairy firm Mueller, TPG and Cola-Cola – which has recently taken minority stakes in Keurig Green Mountain and Suja Juice - declined to comment.

However, persons familiar with the matter told FoodNavigator-USA that PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are among several companies that are looking to invest in Chobani, which first started exploring the sale of a minority stake to a strategic partner at the beginning of this year, and later brought on Goldman Sachs to help it run the process of identifying the right partner.

Chobani Flip is the fastest growing platform in the dairy aisle since the launch of Chobani in 2007, claims the company

Chobani - which says it is gaining share in the overall yogurt category according to the latest Nielsen data - recently secured two spots in the top 10 in the New Product Pacesetters report from Chicago-based market researcher IRI (with Simply 100 and Flip) and a place in IRI's 'Rising Stars' ranking (Chobani Oats), which predicts which products might be the pacesetters for 2015 (click HERE ).

Flip has been a particular success, said the firm, which says Chobani is now the #1 brand in the 'mix-in' segment with a 35% share, while dollar sales of the Flip brand are up more than 300% vs a year ago.

The Flip brand, which Chobani claims is the "fastest growing platform in the dairy aisle since the launch of Chobani in 2007" - is also delivering incremental growth to Chobani and to the overall yogurt category, said the firm.

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