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Chobani hands out stock options to 2,000 employees

Founder says his dream has always been to share the company's success
Chobani Joghurt Plant in South Edmeston, Upstate New York

U.S.-based yogurt-maker Chobani is handing out shares worth up to 10 per cent of the company to its 2,000 full-time employees.

In a letter sent to employees this week, founder Hamdi Ulukaya wrote: “My dream, from day one, was to share our success with this entire family – for us all to have a stake in our future, working together to grow Chobani and furthering our mission as a modern food company.

“This isn’t a gift. It’s a mutual promise to work together with a shared purpose and responsibility. To continue to create something special and of lasting value. I want you not only to be a part of this growth – I want you to be the driving force of it. To share in our success, to be rewarded by it.”

Ulukaya is communicating the new program, Chobani Shares, to all employees in person this week. He started at the organization’s plant in upstate New York on Tuesday and continued to Idaho to share the news with employees on Thursday.

The New York Times reported that the company’s value was estimated between $3 and $5 billion two years ago. At the $3 billion valuation, the average employee payout would be US$150,000. Employees who have been with the company since it was founded in 2005 will likely be given more shares, according to the newspaper, possibly worth more than US$1 million.

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