October 3, 2023


Business Woman

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

2 min read

A tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, manufactured by Unilever Plc.

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Ben & Jerry’s is suing guardian firm Unilever to quit the sale of its Israeli small business to a community licensee, a move the shopper products and solutions giant said would maintain the ice product products and solutions out there in Israel and its occupied territories.

Ben & Jerry’s reported in a lawsuit submitted in federal courtroom in New York Tuesday that Unilever’s conclusion was built devoid of the approval of its impartial board, which has the principal accountability for safeguarding the integrity of its brand’s identify.

A decide on Tuesday denied Ben & Jerry’s application for a short-term restraining get but ordered Unilever to exhibit trigger by July 14 for why a preliminary injunction should not be issued. 

Representatives for Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s did not immediately react to requests for remark.

The match marks the latest development in a controversy that was set off very last 12 months when Ben & Jerry’s claimed it would end product sales in the West Bank territory occupied by Israel given that the Six Day war in 1967.

Israel’s governing administration sees the occupied territories as part of its economy and any attempts to boycott small business in the locations are found as making use of to the place. Halting profits of the ice cream in the occupied territories would have finished profits all through Israel.

In its match, Ben & Jerry’s explained that its brand name is “synonymous with social activism” and that as portion of its deal to be acquired by Unilever in 2000, it had reserved the “main obligation for safeguarding the integrity” of the Ben & Jerry’s model by its independent board.

It reported that Unilever experienced publicly recognized the brand’s suitable to make selections about its social mission. But then final week, Ben & Jerry’s mentioned Unilever “abruptly reversed course.” 

Unilever declared very last week that it bought the Israeli branch of its Ben & Jerry’s business to American High-quality Solutions, which licenses the ice product products in Israel. American High-quality claimed it would proceed providing Ben & Jerry’s beneath Hebrew and Arabic names all over Israel and its occupied territories. 

In spite of the right of Ben & Jerry’s impartial board to make selections about the brand’s social mission, Unilever said in saying the sale that it had the ideal to enter into the agreement since it experienced reserved main obligation for economic and operational choices.

Right after Unilever introduced the sale, Ben & Jerry’s explained in its lawsuit that its board held a exclusive assembly on Friday and voted to sue around the conclusion.

In an interview with CNBC after last week’s move by Unilever the Israeli licensor, Avi Zinger of American Top quality Goods, said any potential lawsuit would be “concerning Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s. I previously have a deal.”

— CNBC’s Candice Choi contributed to this report.

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