By Echo Wang and Manya Saini
(Reuters) -Yogurt maker Chobani is withdrawing its plans for an initial public offering in the United States after having delayed its listing plans earlier this year, marking the first high-profile casualty of the current slowdown in stock market flotations.
Chobani cited "current market conditions" in its decision to scrap its IPO. The move comes after the company delayed its plans for a stock market launch late last year and then again earlier this year, according to people familiar with the matter.
Volatile market conditions have forced investors to pull back from stock market launches, which have screeched to a halt due to market conditions that took a turn for the worse after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
IPOs in the United States are on track for their worst year in over two decades, according to Dealogic which tracks listing data going back to 1995. So far, companies have raised about $5.1 billion this year, compared to over $100 billion during the same period last year.
“Our focus remains on strong execution and driving profitable growth, and we continue to be excited about the future of Chobani,” Chobani said in a statement.
Last year, Chobani confidentially filed for an IPO that could have valued it at more than $10 billion, sources had told Reuters at the time.
FROZEN IPO MARKET
Several big names such as Reddit and ServiceTitan, which have already filed their IPO paperwork confidentially with regulators, have delayed their plans to go public this year. Others are waiting to see how some planned fall IPOs perform before they kick off their plans to go public, people familiar with the matter said.
Online grocery delivery company Instacart and Intel's self-driving car unit Mobileye are among the only high-profile names that are still aiming to go public this year on U.S. exchanges.
IPO advisers and experts said that IPOs are hard to price at the moment as the Cboe Volatility Index, known as Wall Street's "fear gauge", currently stands above 20.
"The consumer staples sector has fared better than others (e.g. technology), but any IPO right now still needs to be best-in-class", said Matt Kennedy, senior strategist at IPO research firm Renaissance Capital. "Chobani showed relatively modest growth, while margins lagged peers, and it operated under a heavy debt burden."
Chobani, which means shepherd in Turkish, makes yogurt, oatmilk, and probiotic beverages. It was founded in 2005 by Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant to the United States who bought an old yogurt plant after taking a small loan.
Reuters reported in March that Peter McGuinness, Chobani's former operating chief, will replace Pat Brown as the top boss at plant-based meat maker Impossible Foods.
(Reporting by Manya Saini and Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru, Echo Wang in New York; Editing by Anirban Sen and Lisa Shumaker)