June 4, 2023

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Ben & Jerry’s sues parent Unilever to block sale of Israeli business


NEW YORK, July 5 (Reuters) – Ben & Jerry’s on Tuesday sued its parent Unilever Plc (ULVR.L) to block the sale of its Israeli small business to a community licensee, declaring it was inconsistent with its values to market its ice product in the occupied West Financial institution.

The criticism filed in the U.S. District Courtroom in Manhattan stated the sale announced on June 29 threatened to undermine the integrity of the Ben & Jerry’s model, which Ben & Jerry’s board retained independence to shield when Unilever obtained the enterprise in 2000.

An injunction against transferring the business enterprise and similar logos to Avi Zinger, who runs American High quality Merchandise Ltd, was critical to “secure the brand name and social integrity Ben & Jerry’s has invested many years constructing,” the grievance explained.

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Ben & Jerry’s mentioned its board voted 5-2 to sue, with the two Unilever appointees dissenting.

Unilever, in a assertion, said it does not discuss pending litigation, but that it experienced the ideal to market the disputed business and the transaction had presently shut.

“It’s a carried out deal,” Zinger’s law firm Alyza Lewin said in a individual assertion. The sale resolved Zinger’s own lawsuit in March in opposition to Ben & Jerry’s for refusing to renew his license.

The dispute highlights difficulties dealing with buyer brands getting a stand on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Lender.

Most nations around the world take into consideration the settlements unlawful. In April 2019, Airbnb Inc (ABNB.O) reversed a five-month-previous selection to cease listing homes in the settlements.

Very last July, Ben & Jerry’s claimed it would conclude profits in the occupied West Lender and areas of East Jerusalem, and sever its a few-ten years romantic relationship with Zinger. read through additional

Israel condemned the go, and some Jewish groups accused Ben & Jerry’s of anti-Semitism. Some buyers, like at least 7 U.S. states, divested their Unilever holdings. browse more

Unilever has additional than 400 makes like Dove cleaning soap, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Knorr soup and Vaseline pores and skin lotion.

Ben & Jerry’s was started in a renovated gas station in 1978 by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.

No extended involved in Ben & Jerry’s operations, they wrote in the New York Occasions very last July that they supported Israel but opposed its “unlawful profession” of the West Financial institution.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Jessica DiNapoli in New York Modifying by Bill Berkrot and Himani Sarkar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Have confidence in Principles.


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