Ben & Jerry’s Sues Parent Unilever to Block Sale of Israeli Business | Investing News

By Jonathan Stempel and Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Ben & Jerry’s on Tuesday sued its father or mother Unilever Plc to block the sale of its Israeli business enterprise to a nearby licensee, indicating it was inconsistent with its values to market its ice product in the occupied West Lender.

The criticism submitted in the U.S. District Courtroom in Manhattan said the sale introduced on June 29 threatened to undermine the integrity of the Ben & Jerry’s brand name, which Ben & Jerry’s board retained independence to protect when Unilever acquired the enterprise in 2000.

An injunction versus transferring the business enterprise and related logos to Avi Zinger, who operates American Top quality Solutions Ltd, was crucial to “shield the manufacturer and social integrity Ben & Jerry’s has expended a long time constructing,” the grievance stated.

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

Unilever, in a statement, reported it does not explore pending litigation, but that it experienced the suitable to promote the disputed company and the transaction experienced by now shut.

“It’s a done deal,” Zinger’s lawyer Alyza Lewin explained in a separate statement. The sale fixed Zinger’s individual lawsuit in March versus Ben & Jerry’s for refusing to renew his license.

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

Most countries think about the settlements illegal. In April 2019, Airbnb Inc reversed a 5-thirty day period-previous choice to prevent listing homes in the settlements.

Very last July, Ben & Jerry’s mentioned it would close income in the occupied West Bank and areas of East Jerusalem, and sever its three-ten years relationship with Zinger.

Israel condemned the shift, and some Jewish teams accused Ben & Jerry’s of anti-Semitism. Some investors, including at the very least seven U.S. states, divested their Unilever holdings.

Unilever has extra than 400 manufacturers together with Dove cleaning soap, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Knorr soup and Vaseline skin lotion.

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

No extended involved in Ben & Jerry’s operations, they wrote in the New York Instances previous July that they supported Israel but opposed its “unlawful profession” of the West Bank.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Jessica DiNapoli in New York Enhancing by Bill Berkrot and Himani Sarkar)

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