Chobani Is Acquiring Coffee Company La Colombe For $900 Million

Chobani has been a player in the coffee market for a while now with its line of creamers. Now, the Greek yogurt pioneer is taking its role in the coffee market to the next level by acquiring La Colombe for a total value of $900 million, per an official press release announced on December 15. Itemized, the purchase includes $44 million in cash, a term loan of $550 million, and the absorption of Keurig Dr Pepper's (KDP) minority equity stake in La Colombe into Chobani. KDP invested $33 million for a 33% stake in the company in July 2023. Although the yogurt giant acquired the coffee company, La Colombe will continue to operate as an independent brand following the Chobani acquisition.

The purchase marks Chobani's expansion into the ready-to-drink canned coffee category, which is valued at $5 billion and expected to enjoy further growth across the global market in the coming years. An estimated 75% of today's coffee drinkers enjoy cold coffee year-round, and Chobani is looking to hop on the bottled cold coffee train while the momentum is hot. Other industry giants like Starbucks and Nestlé have been increasingly redirecting their focus toward cold coffee offerings in recent months. The acquisition also marks the first time that Chobani has ventured beyond its brand. Indeed, La Colombe's "wellness" vibe and commitment to high-quality, sustainable sourcing match Chobani's current brand image and portfolio of Greek yogurt, oat milk, coffee creamers, and yogurt-based probiotic beverages.

New chapters for 2 secretly synergetic beverage brands

La Colombe fans, rest assured — Chobani Founder and Chief Executive Officer Hamdi Ulukaya has promised that the brand's beloved products will not change. Ulukaya is a longtime fan himself, and for him, the purchase is personal. Interestingly enough, before Keurig's investment, La Colombe's primary (nay, sole) investor had been Chobani's own Ulukaya, a longtime fan of La Colombe's product. He overpaid for a $60 million controlling stake back in 2014 to make sure the company remained committed to the quality that made him fall in love with the product in the first place. The merger actually might have been foreshadowed earlier this year when Chobani and La Colombe co-hosted a booth at the annual natural products summit Expo West, with Chobani bringing the creamer and La Colombe bringing the coffee. 

This decision represents a solid opportunity for Chobani to reach La Colombe's existing customer base across a variety of convenience retailers, cafes, and food service outlets. La Colombe also currently supplies coffee to nearly 50% of all the James Beard Awarded eateries in the U.S., in addition to running 32 brick-and-mortar cafe locations of its own. In recent financial quarters, Chobani has demonstrated double-digit, volume-led sales growth, and La Colombe grew its ready-to-drink line by 300% over the past five years. Looking forward, the Chobani brand is reportedly working on developing lower-sugar canned coffee options, with natural sweeteners and no artificial additives like pH regulators.