Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Rural-based yogurt firm to give employees a stake; some stand to get shares worth $1 million

Chobani, the nation's biggest yogurt seller, announced it will give its 2,000 full-time employees a stake in the company, basd in rural New Berlin, N.Y. (NYT photo by Alexandra Hootnick: Chobani owner Hamdi Ulukaya handing over stock to employees)

"Hamdi Ulukaya, the Turkish immigrant who founded Chobani in 2005, told workers at the company’s plant here in upstate New York that he would be giving them shares worth up to 10 percent of the company when it goes public or is sold," Stephanie Strom reports for The New York Times. "The goal, he said, is to pass along the wealth they have helped build in the decade since the company started. Chobani is now widely considered to be worth several billion dollars."
Ulukaya told reporters, “I’ve built something I never thought would be such a success, but I cannot think of Chobani being built without all these people. Now they’ll be working to build the company even more and building their future at the same time."

Shares were given based on tenure, Strom writes. "Two years ago, when Chobani received a loan from TPG Capital, a private equity firm, the company’s value was estimated at $3 billion to $5 billion. At the $3 billion valuation, the average employee payout would be $150,000. The earliest employees, though, will most likely be given many more shares, possibly worth over $1 million." Rich Lake, lead project manager at the plant, told Strom, “It’s better than a bonus or a raise. It’s the best thing because you’re getting a piece of this thing you helped build.” (Read more)

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