Chobani Founder Now a Billionaire (Yes, the Yogurt Guy)
BY Kathleen Kim
Turkish immigrant Hamdi Ulukaya, who began selling Chobani yogurt in 2007, is now worth $1.1 billion.
Hamdi Ulukaya perfected the Chobani recipe in his home country of Turkey.
Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya now has a net worth of $1.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Sales from Chobani, which controls about 17% of the yogurt market and half of the Greek yogurt market in the U.S., increased fivefold since 2009--the company's revenue amounts to $745.6 million as of May, Bloomberg reports. This staggering billion-dollar plus valuation is based on comparisons to similar publicly traded companies.
“The real story here is the collective success of Chobani and how we as a company, through our fans and community, have left an indelible mark on the yogurt industry,” Ulukaya said in a statement on the company's speedy growth spurt. Ulukaya is the sole owner of the company.
Ulukaya, a 40-year-old Turkish immigrant, recently told Inc. that he took out his own loans to start Chobani in a defunct Kraft Foods factory in 2005, and began selling the yogurt locally in 2007. An employer of more than 1200 people, Chobani now uses more than three millions pounds of milk to churn out its products--gluten-free and Kosher-certified, according to the website. It boasts a three-year growth rate of 2,662%.
Too bad for Ulukaya that his now ex-wife wants a piece of the Chobani pie. Ayse Giray filed a lawsuit in August, claiming she gave Ulukaya $500,000 between 1993 and 2007, and that she is entitled to a 53% stake in Chobani.