June 17, 2024


Business & Finance

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

3 min read

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

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Photos

Ben & Jerry’s is suing father or mother enterprise Unilever to stop the sale of its Israeli business enterprise to a area licensee, a move the client items huge stated would preserve the ice cream products obtainable in Israel and its occupied territories.

Ben & Jerry’s said in a lawsuit submitted in federal courtroom in New York Tuesday that Unilever’s choice was created with out the acceptance of its unbiased board, which has the principal obligation for safeguarding the integrity of its brand’s name.

A choose on Tuesday denied Ben & Jerry’s application for a short term restraining get but purchased Unilever to present cause by July 14 for why a preliminary injunction must not be issued. 

In a assertion, Unilever claimed that “the deal has previously shut” and that it does not comment on pending litigation. A Ben & Jerry’s representative did not react to a ask for for comment.

The fit marks the hottest progress in a controversy that was established off final 12 months when Ben & Jerry’s stated it would halt gross sales in the West Financial institution territory occupied by Israel since the 6 Working day war in 1967.

Israel’s govt sees the occupied territories as part of its economy and any initiatives to boycott small business in the areas are noticed as applying to the country. Halting product sales of the ice product in the occupied territories would have ended income in the course of Israel.

In its fit, Ben & Jerry’s claimed that its model is “synonymous with social activism” and that as component of its deal to be acquired by Unilever in 2000, it had reserved the “primary duty for safeguarding the integrity” of the Ben & Jerry’s brand name through its independent board.

It reported that Unilever had publicly recognized the brand’s right to make conclusions about its social mission. But then last week, Ben & Jerry’s claimed Unilever “abruptly reversed program.” 

Unilever declared past week that it sold the Israeli branch of its Ben & Jerry’s company to American Quality Products, which licenses the ice product merchandise in Israel. American Good quality stated it would go on marketing Ben & Jerry’s underneath Hebrew and Arabic names through Israel and its occupied territories. 

In spite of the appropriate of Ben & Jerry’s unbiased board to make conclusions about the brand’s social mission, Unilever stated in announcing the sale that it had the suitable to enter into the agreement due to the fact it experienced reserved most important responsibility for fiscal and operational selections.

Immediately after Unilever announced the sale, Ben & Jerry’s stated in its lawsuit that its board held a exclusive conference on Friday and voted to sue around the determination.

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

— CNBC’s Candice Choi contributed to this report.