Akron and Findlay-based companies combine to create worldwide tire juggernaut
By Terry Troy
In a deal that is clearly designed to create additional value from manufacturing and distribution, Akron-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber and Findlay-based Cooper Tire & Rubber Company have entered into an agreement under which Goodyear will acquire Cooper in a transaction with a total enterprise value of approximately $2.5 billion.
The transaction will expand Goodyear’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.
Founded in 1914, Cooper is the 5th-largest tire manufacturer in North America by revenue with approximately 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 Richard J. Kramer, Goodyear chairman, CEO 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.
“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.”
In addition to the creation of additional wealth and value from manufacturing and distribution, the move will also strengthen Goodyear’s leadership position around the globe, growing its position nationally, across North America and in China.
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 February 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 February 19, 2021, and a premium of 36% to Cooper’s 30-day volume weighted average price as of the close on February 19, 2021. Upon closing of the transaction, Goodyear shareholders will own approximately 84% of the combined company, and Cooper shareholders will own approximately 16%.
Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 62,000 people and manufactures its products in 46 facilities in 21 countries around the world. Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is the parent company of a global family of companies that specializes in the design, manufacture, marketing and sale of passenger car, light truck, medium truck, motorcycle and racing tires.