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Business Organizations Law

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2010

Florida International University College of Law

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Freezing Out Ben & Jerry: Corporate Law And The Sale Of A Social Enterprise Icon, Antony Page, Robert A. Katz Jan 2010

Freezing Out Ben & Jerry: Corporate Law And The Sale Of A Social Enterprise Icon, Antony Page, Robert A. Katz

Faculty Publications

Companies with social missions are frequently bought by larger, more conventional profit-seeking firms and just as frequently accused of “selling out.” Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. is perhaps the leading example: its takeover by international conglomerate Unilever is an oft-repeated cautionary tale of the negative proclivities of the publicly-traded corporate form and profit-maximizing corporate law. Contrary to conventional wisdom, however, corporate law did not compel the sale, or sell-out, of Ben & Jerry’s. This familiar account omits a critical part of the narrative -- the company and its founders had established impressive anti-takeover defenses that, when pressed, the board declined to ...