Ben & Jerry's sues Unilever in attempt to block sale of Israeli business

Last week, Unilever announced they would be selling the division to businessman Avi Zinger


Ben & Jerry's board members have voted to sue parent company Unilever over plans to sell the Israeli division of the brand to a local businessman.

In a 5-2 vote, the board of the global ice cream makers decided to take legal action in New York, arguing for an injunction to protect, "the brand and social integrity Ben & Jerry's has spent decades building."

The suit, filed in Manhattan, argues that according to the terms of the purchase agreement signed between the brand and Unilever, Ben & Jerry's retains the right to protect the integrity of the brand.

Lawyers for Ben & Jerry's argued that the announcement last week that the Israeli arm of the business would be sold to businessman Avi Zinger, would significantly damage Ben & Jerry's name globally.

Unilever said on Wednesday last week, that as part of a deal between the company and Ben & Jerry's Israeli operation, it has sold its business interests in Ben & Jerry's Israel to Avi Zinger, the CEO, allowing its products to be sold in the West Bank.

In a statement to Reuters, Unilever said that it doesn't comment on ongoing litigation but confirmed that the deal between Unilever and Mr. Singer had already been finalised.

Speaking to the JC in the wake of the announcement, Avi Singer, CEO of Ben & Jerry's Israel said: “I’m very grateful to Unilever that we have managed to resolve this feud. I’m looking forward.

“For the last year, the [staff] went through the unknown. They didn’t know what the future was for them. So now, finally, after this has been resolved, everyone feels happy and safe and excited.”

In June of 2021, the company announced that it was “inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

“We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region. We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year.”

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