A Chobani IPO: Is Now the Right Time?

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Chobani, the top seller of Greek yogurt in the United States, reportedly is exploring its options to raise capital, perhaps by taking the company public or by selling a stake to a private investor. But is this the best time to consider an IPO, when some signs suggest that the IPO market may be cooling off?

Chobani essentially sparked the Greek yogurt craze in the United States a few years ago, but it hasn’t really strayed much from its core offering of fruit-infused yogurt in single-serving cups. That is about to change, however. As early as this summer, the company plans to branch out into pudding-like desserts, as well as yogurt dips in flavors such as hummus, guacamole and tzatziki.

The company, which is closely held by its founder, also recently began to export its products to Panama, Singapore and Malaysia, with other Asian and Central American markets expected to follow.

The company saw revenue rise 32% in the past year, and it says it can beat that growth rate this year with some $1.5 billion in sales. It holds the lion’s share of the Greek yogurt market, at about 38%. The company has been valued at around $5 billion.

Private equity firm TPG is said to be the leading contender among those looking to acquire a stake of up to 15% in the company.

Chinese social media platform Weibo Corp. (NASDAQ: WB), one of the most anticipated IPOs of this past week, lowered expectations by setting the price at the bottom of the expected range and reducing the number of shares offered. Other IPOs during the week, such as those of City Office REIT Inc. (NYSE: CIO), Moelis & Co. (NYSE: MC), Opus Bank (NASDAQ: OPB) and Paycom Software Inc. (NYSE: PAYC) also got off to shaky starts.

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