Goodyear to Acquire Cooper for $2.5 Billion

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. today announced that they have entered a definitive agreement under which Goodyear will  acquire Cooper in a transaction valued at $2.5 billion. The deal is expected to close during the second half of 2021.

In a statement released earlier today, Goodyear said that the transaction  will expand the Akron, Ohio-based tiremaker's product offering by "combining two portfolios of complementary brands.

"It will also create a stronger U.S.-based manufacturer with increased presence in distribution and retail channels  while combining both companies’ strengths in the highly profitable light truck and SUV product segments.  The combined company will have approximately $17.5 billion in pro forma 2019 sales.  

"Under the terms of the transaction, which has been approved by the boards of directors of both  companies, Cooper shareholders will receive $41.75 per share in cash and a fixed exchange ratio of 0.907  shares of Goodyear common stock per Cooper share for a total equity value of approximately $2.8 billion. 

"Based on Goodyear’s closing stock price on Feb. 19, 2021, the last trading day prior to the announcement, the implied cash and stock consideration to be received by Cooper shareholders is $54.36  per share, representing a premium of 24% to Cooper’s closing stock price on Feb. 19, 2021, and a  premium of 36% to Cooper’s 30-day volume weighted average price as of the close on Feb. 19, 2021. 

"Upon closing of the transaction, Goodyear shareholders will own approximately 84% of the combined company,and Cooper shareholders will own approximately 16%.  

Cooper has 10,000 employees working in 15 countries worldwide. Cooper products are manufactured in 10 facilities around the globe, including wholly-owned and joint venture plants. The company’s portfolio of  brands includes Cooper, Mastercraft, Roadmaster and Mickey Thompson.  

“This is an exciting and transformational day for our companies,” said Rich Kramer, Goodyear chairman, chief executive officer and president. “The addition of Cooper’s complementary tire product  portfolio and highly capable manufacturing assets, coupled with Goodyear’s technology and industry  leading distribution, provides the combined company with opportunities for improved cost efficiency and a  broader offering for both companies’ retailer networks. We are confident this combination will enable us to  provide enhanced service for our customers and consumers while delivering value for shareholders.”  

Kramer added, “We have a great deal of respect for Cooper’s team and share a commitment to integrity, quality, agility and teamwork. We look forward to welcoming Cooper to the Goodyear family.”  

Brad Hughes, Cooper president and CEO, added, “Cooper has transformed into a dynamic,  consumer-driven organization that has balanced traditional and emerging channels to increase demand for  our products, while updating and effectively leveraging our global manufacturing footprint. I am extremely  proud of what our team has accomplished over the past 107 years and am grateful to our talented  employees for their contributions and commitment.

"This transaction marks the start of a new chapter for Cooper, which we are entering from a position of strength. We believe that it represents an attractive opportunity to maximize value for our shareholders, who will receive a meaningful premium as well as the  opportunity to participate in the upside of the combined company. We look forward to the opportunity to  combine Cooper’s considerable talents with Goodyear’s, and to be part of a bigger, stronger organization  that will be competitively well-positioned to win in the global tire industry.”  

According to Goodyear officials, the transaction "nearly doubles Goodyear’s presence" in China "and increases the number of  relationships with local automakers, while creating broader distribution for Cooper replacement tires through Goodyear’s network of 2,500 branded retail stores.  

Also in its statement, Goodyear listed several other "compelling strategic and financial benefits" that the acquisition will bring to it.

"The combined company will have the opportunity to leverage the strength of Goodyear original equipment and premium replacement tires, along with the mid-tier power of the Cooper brand,  which has particular strength in the light truck and SUV segments. Together, these brands have the  opportunity to deliver a more complete offering to aligned distributors and retailers." 

Tax benefits also were cited.

"Goodyear expects to achieve approximately $165 million in run-rate cost synergies within two years following the close of the transaction. The majority of the cost  synergies will be related to overlapping corporate functions and realizing operating efficiencies. In  addition, the combination is expected to generate net present value of $450 million or more by utilizing Goodyear’s available U.S. tax attributes. These tax attributes will reduce the company’s  cash tax payments, positioning it to generate additional free cash flow. The expected cost  synergies from this transaction do not include manufacturing-related savings.  

"The transaction is immediately accretive to earnings per share, modestly improves Goodyear’s balance sheet position and enhances the company’s ability to de-lever."

In addition, "opportunities for  expansion of select Cooper facilities will increase capital efficiency and flexibility. Additional revenue  growth opportunities will result from the addition of the Cooper brand to Goodyear’s global distribution network. 

And "the combined company will offer tire products and a broad selection of services through Goodyear’s relationships with traditional and emerging original equipment manufacturers; autonomous  driving system developers; new and established fleet operators; and other mobility platforms.  

The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of required  regulatory approvals and the approval of Cooper shareholders. 

Goodyear intends to fund the cash portion of the transaction through debt financing and has secured a  committed bridge financing facility led by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.  

 

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