Bruner Case Study
This case examines issues of asset control for Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc., in light of the outstanding takeover offers by Chartwell Investments, Dreyer‘s Grand, Unilever, and Meadowbrook Lane Capital in January 2000.
The case requires a discussion of fundamental firm objectives and the implications of a non-traditional corporate orientation; one needs to review the development of Ben & Jerry's strong social consciousness and the takeover defence mechanisms that maintain management's control on company assets.
One is required to estimate the economic cost of its social agenda, and evaluate the implications of takeover defence strategies. Ultimately, we have to take a position on whether Ben & Jerry's should continue to independently pursue its social agenda or accept one of the attractive takeover offers and accept a shift toward greater profit orientation.
Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc., the Vermont-based manufacturer of ice cream, frozen yoghurt and sorbet, was founded in 1978, with a $12,000 investment ($4,000 of which was borrowed). It soon became popular for its innovative flavours, made from fresh Vermont milk and cream. The company currently distributes ice cream, low fat ice cream, frozen yoghurt, sorbet and novelty products nationwide as well as in selected foreign countries in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, franchised Ben & Jerry's scoop shops, restaurants and other venues.
Product: "To make, distribute and sell the finest quality all natural ice cream and related products in a wide variety of innovative flavours made from Vermont dairy products."
Economic: "To operate the Company on a sound financial basis of profitable growth, increasing value for our shareholders, and creating career opportunities and financial rewards for our employees."
Social: "To operate the Company in a way that actively recognizes the central role that