EXCLUSIVE-Chobani seeks to sell stake at $2.5 bln valuation -sources

NEW YORK, March 10 (Reuters) - Chobani, the Greek yogurt maker that has quickly grown into a U.S. sensation, is looking to sell a minority stake in a deal that could value the company at around $2.5 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

The New Berlin, New York-based company is working with Bank of America Corp as it considers selling roughly 20 percent of itself, and is speaking to consumer companies and private equity firms to gauge their interest, the people said on Monday.

Chobani previously held discussions with banks about pursuing an initial public offering, but switched gears after its growth began to slow in the face of mounting competition from other Greek yogurt companies, the people said.

The people declined to be named because the matter is not public. Representatives for Chobani did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while Bank of America declined to comment.

Founded in 2005 by Turkish immigrant Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani started out of a former Kraft Food Groups Inc yogurt plant in South Edmeston, New York, and grew into one of the top selling Greek yogurt brands in the United States.

(Reporting by Olivia Oran in New York, Editing by Soyoung Kim and Lisa Shumaker)