Chobani, the Greek yogurt maker, reportedly rejected an offer by PepsiCo Inc. to take a major stake in the company Friday. Chobani was working with Goldman Sachs since last year to find a strategic partner to help it expand production and distribution facilities.
Talks between the two companies broke down as Chobani wanted to sell only a minority stake in the company while PepsiCo wanted a larger share, Bloomberg reported, citing sources.
Chobani, founded by billionaire Hamdi Ulukaya, reportedly said that independence remained a key asset to the company and the brand. The company rose to prominence for selling strained yogurt — yogurt that has been strained to remove its whey content — popularly known in the U.S. as Greek yogurt.
Consumer demand for Greek yogurt has rocketed in recent years, according to Dairyreporter.com. In 2007, it accounted for about 1 percent of U.S. yogurt sales, but by the end of 2015, around half of all yogurt sold in America was Greek yogurt.
Consumer interest has since spread beyond the U.S. as Greek yogurt is popularly perceived to be healthier, since it contains more proteins and lesser sugar content than unstrained yogurt.
Chobani, whose products were among the top-selling yogurt brands in the U.S., has experienced some growth pains in recent years, due to problems at its massive yogurt plant in Idaho.
According to Reuters, Coco-Cola Co., which was competing against rival PepsiCo to invest in Chobani, ended talks to invest in the Greek yogurt maker in October, saying it was not the best fit for Coca-Cola's portfolio.
PepsiCo had ended its previous foray in the crowded U.S. yogurt market in December.