IN 2001, BRITISH-DUTCH CORPORATION UNILEVER ATTEMPTED TO PURCHASE THE ASSETS OF BEN & JERRY’S ICE CREAM. THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF BEN & JERRY’S REFUSED THE OFFER. UNILEVER’S OFFER WAS VERY GENEROUS AND WOULD HAVE RESULTED IN A MAJOR WINDFALL FOR THE SHAREHOLDERS OF BEN & JERRY’S.
The Shareholders threatened to sue the Board of Directors for a breach of fiduciary duty arguing the Board of Directors had a duty for care to make good decisions on behalf of the Corporation. And denying the purchase offer violated that duty.
In fear of the lawsuit, the Board agreed to the sell terms. Do you believe the Board of Directors had a duty to accept the buyout offer? And did their failure to accept it amount to a breach of the fiduciary duties owned to the shareholders?
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