Business

Ben & Jerry’s sues Unilever over sale of Israeli business

Ben & Jerry’s filed go well with towards its guardian firm Unilever on Tuesday in an effort to dam its sale of the Vermont-based model’s Israel enterprise to a neighborhood franchisee.

The left-leaning ice cream model, which is thought for championing liberal causes, alleged in a grievance filed in US District Court docket in Manhattan that Unilever’s “unilateral determination” was made with out board consent.

The ice cream firm mentioned an injunction blocking the sale was “important to protect the established order and defend the model and social integrity Ben & Jerry’s has spent a long time constructing.”

Ben & Jerry’s board of administrators voted 5-2 final Friday to authorize a authorized submitting towards Unilever, in response to particulars included within the model’s grievance. The dissenters had been two administrators appointed by Unilever.

The corporate requested a federal decide to dam the switch of Ben & Jerry’s trademark and model rights to any entity that will promote the product or use its brand within the West Financial institution with out prior board approval.

Representatives for Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever didn’t instantly return requests for touch upon the lawsuit.

Unilever purchased Ben & Jerry’s in 2000.
AFP through Getty Pictures

Final week, Unilever mentioned it had reached an settlement to promote its Ben & Jerry’s enterprise in Israel to its present native franchisee, Avi Zinger, and his agency, American High quality Merchandise Inc.

The corporate famous Ben & Jerry’s board retained rights associated to its “social mission” however famous, “Unilever reserved major accountability for monetary and operational choices and subsequently has the suitable to enter this association.”

Ben & Jerry’s founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, bought the corporate to Unilever in 2000 for $326 million.

“Unilever has used the chance of the previous 12 months to hearken to views on this complicated and delicate matter and believes that is one of the best consequence for Ben & Jerry’s in Israel,” the conglomerate mentioned in a press release on the sale. “The evaluation included in depth session over a number of months, together with with the Israeli authorities.”

Ben & Jerry's
Ben & Jerry’s has argued the sale runs opposite to its values.
AFP through Getty Pictures

In July 2019, the ice cream model mentioned it might finish gross sales of its merchandise in Jewish settlements within the occupied West Financial institution. Zinger just lately reached a settlement with Ben & Jerry’s for declining to resume his license, in response to Reuters.  

The Israeli authorities lauded the sale as a victory over “antisemites.” However the transaction drew a pointy public rebuke from Ben & Jerry’s.

The ice cream maker’s lawsuit got here simply days after the corporate mentioned a sale ran opposite to the model’s beliefs.

“We proceed to consider it’s inconsistent with Ben & Jerry’s values for our ice cream to be bought within the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the corporate mentioned in a press release.

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