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Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya says he would consider going public — but won’t sell to an industry giant

But: “When I read about Elon Musk, I think sometimes maybe not.”

Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya onstage at Code Commerce 2018 Keith MacDonald for Vox Media
Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya is “not against” taking his yogurt company public. But he is decidedly not interested in selling it to a food conglomerate, a popular path for many consumer packaged goods brands.

“What happens is all these little brands, these good brands, as they grow, because of the financial structure, 99 percent of them become part of larger organizations,” he said, speaking at our Code Commerce conference in New York City. “When they become part of a larger organization, it’s the end of their promise.”

When asked by Recode Editor at Large Kara Swisher, “Would you ever consider selling out to a large organization? All of them do,” Ulukaya responded, “No, I’ve said no from Day One.”

Part of Chobani’s promise is being an equitable business that’s committed to its diverse workforce. Thirty percent of its employees are immigrants or refugees. In 2016, Ulukaya gifted his employees 10 percent of the company.

Chobani brings in $1 billion in revenue annually and was reportedly valued at $3 billion to $5 billion in 2014.

As far as going public: “If that’s going to give me tools to be able to [expand], I definitely would,” he said. “When I read about Elon Musk, I think sometimes maybe not.”

Watch the full interview here:

This article originally appeared on

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