Kirkland, Ropes on Hand for TPG's Chobani Infusion

Kirkland, Ropes on Hand for TPG's Chobani Infusion Photo by Meng He

Yogurt maker Chobani announced Wednesday that it has secured a $750 million investment from private equity firm TPG Capital.

Chobani, the leading seller of Greek-style yogurt in the U.S., had revenues of more than $1 billion last year. Dealbook reported that six potential investors showed interest in doing a deal with the company, whose upstate New York production plants have been a boon to the regional economy.

TPG, which is making the investment through its private equity arm and its credit platform, TPG Opportunities Partners, won out. As Dealbook explains, TPG is receiving warrants that could convert into an equity stake worth as much as 35 percent in the yogurt maker if it achieves certain milestones, such as an initial public offering or other sale. TPG’s investment is being packaged as a second-lien loan, putting the private equity firm behind other creditors in case of a default.

Chobani was represented in the deal by a Kirkland & Ellis team led by corporate partners Michael Movsovich and Constantine Skarvelis and debt finance partner Andres Mena.

Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya brought Kirkland on in October 2012 to defend against a suit brought by his former wife, who claimed ownership of a significant share of the company. That case, which is proceeding, turned ugly earlier this month when Ulukaya’s ex-wife accused him of stealing his yogurt recipe from rival Fage.

TPG was represented by its longtime counsel at Ropes & Gray. The Ropes team included private equity partners Carl P. Marcellino and R. Newcomb Stillwell and debt finance partner Alyson Allen. TPG previously turned to Ropes & Gray in January when it sold Aptalis Pharma to specialty pharmaceutical company Forest Laboratories for $2.9 billion cash.

Lawyers at both firms were not immediately available for comment.

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