South Burlington, Vermont, -- Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., the second-largest U.S. maker of premium ice cream, said it's continuing to review its options after being approached about selling the company.

The company said such interest may include an offer from a group of "socially conscious business people." However, it hasn't yet received such an offer.The Wall St. Journal reported earlier today that The Social Venture Network, a San Francisco ethical investment group, is considering strategies to help preserve Ben & Jerry's independence in the face of hostile advances from Unilever NV and Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream Inc. The company said it's not in a position to comment further on the report.

Last week, the maker of Chunky Monkey and Cherry Garcia ice cream said it may contract with others to produce its ice cream products as it tries to cut costs while preserving its socially conscious image. Ben & Jerry's built that image by buying milk from small family farms and donating some of their proceeds to charities.

Investors are considering either taking the company private in a management-led buyout or enabling the company to remain as a public company by expanding it into other products, sharpening its competitive edge, the paper also reported.

The company said its board has not made a decision about any sale or alternative transaction.

Officials at The Social Venture Network couldn't be reached for comment.

Ben & Jerry's is based in South Burlington, Vermont. Its shares rose 2 1/8, or 9.4 percent, to 24 5/8 in midmorning trading.