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Economy and Business


Tire companies' merger stirs bad blood
Ohio's Cooper Tire is accusing Apollo Tyres of underhanded business practice and awaiting court date
Story by LAUREN SCHMOLL


 
DE Chancery Court:

A merger between Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Apollo Tyres Ltd. of India is off to a rough start.

Tire Business reports that just days after the merger was approved by voters, Cooper Tires filed a motion in court for Apollo to "expeditiously close the pending $2.5 billion deal."

Cooper, based in Findlay, is accusing Apollo, based in Gurgaon, India, of trying to change the terms of the deal by delaying a union contract at one of the Cooper plants.

Apollo says that Cooper misrepresented its management holdings of a Cooper subsidiary in China, and wants to drop its offer of $35 a share by at least $2.50. Cooper’s stock dropped to $26 a share last week.

Jim Smith, editor of Tire Review Magazine, says this kind of dispute between distant companies is not uncommon. 

Smith on the Cooper/Apollo dispute

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"How this is going to ultimately impact whether or not this deal goes through remains to be seen," Smith says. "I suspect that both sides are fairly dug in on their versions of events, but it's going to be up to the court to figure it out." 

The case will be heard in the Delaware Chancery Court in early November.

If Apollo backs out before Dec. 31, it will face a $112 million penalty. But if the case drags into the new year, either side can walk away without a penalty.

If the deal is to move forward, financing must be complete by Nov. 15.

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