'Partners': Chobani CEO Gives Employees Shares in Company | NBC4 Washington

'Partners': Chobani CEO Gives Employees Shares in Company

Each of its approximately 2,000 full-time employees will receive shares based on their role and time spent with the company

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    Chobani said Tuesday it is giving its employees an ownership stake in the privately held company.

    The Greek yogurt maker said the shares being distributed would amount to 10 percent of the company's future value in the event of a sale or initial public offering. It said each of its approximately 2,000 full-time employees will receive shares based on their role and time spent with the company.

    "We used to work together. Now, we are partners," Chobani CEO and founder Hamdi Ulukaya told employees at the Chobani plant in upstate New York on Tuesday, according to "NBC Nightly News."

    "It's amazing. Who does that?" one employee said. 

    Ulukaya, who's an immigrant from Turkey, said the move "has been a dream."

    "I like to get back to them and say, 'you and this community and this country have been so great to us and I'd like to return that favor back to you,'" he explained. 

    Chobani was valued at $3 billion to $5 billion two years ago when it received a loan from private equity firm TPG Capital, according to the Times. At the $3 billion valuation, the average employee payout would be $150,000 and longer term employees could receive payouts in excess of $1 million, the Times reported.

    "This isn't a gift. It's a mutual promise to work together with a shared purpose and responsibility," Ulukaya wrote in a letter to employees. The plans were first reported by The New York Times.  

    Chobani has helped lead the surging popularity in Greek yogurt, but has faced more competition in recent years.