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"The Power of Ownership Part 1: The Ben and Jerry's Trap"

In the early 2000's Ben and Jerry's (the ice cream manufacturer) was acquired by UniLever. In 2010 Ben Cohen (one of its co-founders) reiterated that selling the firm was not their first choice but "the laws required the board of directors of Ben & Jerry’s to take an offer to sell the company despite the fact that they did not want to sell the company."


This article by Alternative Ownership Advisors explains how Ben and Jerry's might have avoided this fate using legal infrastructure that now exists to support steward ownership. These include purpose trusts, multi-stakeholder co-ops, veto shares, and foundation ownership, to name a few. In their words "The philosophy of steward ownership is based on the premise that corporations have a role beyond generating profits. That at their core, companies can and should have a reason for existing that is rooted in a purpose greater than “making money for shareholders.""


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