Over the last few years Greek yogurt has turned into a heckuva big business in the US. And much to the surprise of Big Yogurt, a huge chunk of the growth industry has gone to New York-based companies like Chobani. Now Ayse Giray, the former wife of Chobani's founder Hamdi Ulukaya, wants some of that sweet, sweet yogurt dough. According to the Post, Giray has filed suit against her ex, accusing him of cheating her out of a majority share in the thick yogurt biz.
Giray and Ulukaya got hitched in 1997 and, according to the suit, soon after founded a cheese-making company called Euphrates, with Giray using her own line of credit to get things going, as well as putting in $200,000 of her own money into the interest. In 1999 the couple got divorced but stayed partners. Giray, a doctor, says she even pitched in another $300,000 towards the company's expansion between 2002 and 2003. And then it gets interesting.
In 2005 Ulukaya bought an old yogurt plant from Kraft Foods and used it to found Chobani, now the third largest yogurt company in the nation. But he didn't actually tell Giray about it. "Giray said she only discovered her ex used a different entity to buy the Chobani plant in 2007, at which time he promised that their previous deal would also apply to Chobani." All good, right? Nope.
In 2011 Giray says she asked for a share of the company's profits and her ex turned her down. So now she is seeking a 53 percent stake in the private company as well as an outside accounting of the company to assess damages. And so the great yogurt custody battle of 2012 begins!