The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 1:00 am

Goodyear to acquire Ohio rival

$2.8 billion deal combines century-old tire companies

MATT OTT | Associated Press

Two of the biggest remaining U.S. tire companies are joining forces.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is acquiring Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. in a deal with an equity value of $2.8 billion that will combine the two century-old Ohio manufacturers.

Cooper, founded in 1914, is the fifth-largest tire maker in North America based on revenue. The company has about 10,000 employees in 15 countries.

For Goodyear, the bigger company, the deal will nearly double its presence in China. Cooper will get access to Goodyear's 2,500 retail locations.

The companies had combined sales of $19.5 billion in 2019. By combining, the new company would save about $165 million within two years of closing and free up cash in tax savings. It will also bring an array of tire brands together under one roof, including Goodyear's Dunlop and Kelly brands, and Cooper's Mastercraft and Mickey Thompson brands.

The auto industry navigated a whirlwind year with the pandemic and all of the economic disruptions that accompanied it. Industry analysts see a rebound this year as vaccines are more broadly distributed, but many do not see activity reaching the levels of 2019 before the pandemic hit.

But shares in both companies have been rising sharply during the last year, particularly in the past three months. Shares of Goodyear are up more than 21% in the last 30 days. Shares of Cooper are up almost 10% in that time.

Shareholders of Cooper will get $41.75 in cash and about 0.9 shares of Goodyear common stock per share of Cooper stock. Based on Goodyear's closing price Friday, the total consideration for Cooper shareholders is $54.36 per share, a 24% premium to Cooper's closing price Friday. 

The deal, which has been approved by the boards of both companies, is expected to close in the second half of this year. It would give shareholders of Goodyear about 84% of the company and Cooper shareholders the remaining 16%, the companies said.

The company will be based in Goodyear's home of Akron, Ohio. Cooper's headquarters is 132 miles away in Findlay, Ohio, where the company will maintain a presence.

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