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Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc. (A): Acquisition Suitors at the Door
Werhane, Patricia H.; Sack, Robert J.; Mead, Jenny Case E-0225 / Published March 13, 2001 / 21 pages.
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Product Overview

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were best friends and socially conscious entrepreneurs when they founded Ben & Jerry's Homemade in the 1970s in Burlington, Vermont. The company was well-known for being offbeat, quirky, and committed to socially responsible ventures and using organic ingredients in its products. When the company went public in 1984, most people bought the stock because they believed in the company's values and mission. In late 1999, the financial and economic world was quite different, and two suitors?Unilever and Dreyer's Ice Cream?appeared, both very interested in acquiring Ben & Jerry's. This case describes not only the background and history of Ben & Jerry's, but the factors involved in the founders' having to decide what course of action to take.


Learning Objectives

To have students identify and discuss: 1) The stakeholders in this particular case, and how the various choices in this decision might affect them. 2) The ramifications of being a socially responsible company, and the obligations?particularly after going public?that the owner(s) of this company might have. 3) Developing moral frameworks for decision-making.

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  • Overview

    Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were best friends and socially conscious entrepreneurs when they founded Ben & Jerry's Homemade in the 1970s in Burlington, Vermont. The company was well-known for being offbeat, quirky, and committed to socially responsible ventures and using organic ingredients in its products. When the company went public in 1984, most people bought the stock because they believed in the company's values and mission. In late 1999, the financial and economic world was quite different, and two suitors?Unilever and Dreyer's Ice Cream?appeared, both very interested in acquiring Ben & Jerry's. This case describes not only the background and history of Ben & Jerry's, but the factors involved in the founders' having to decide what course of action to take.

  • Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    To have students identify and discuss: 1) The stakeholders in this particular case, and how the various choices in this decision might affect them. 2) The ramifications of being a socially responsible company, and the obligations?particularly after going public?that the owner(s) of this company might have. 3) Developing moral frameworks for decision-making.