Findlay mayor concerned about Cooper Tire, Apollo deal - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Findlay mayor concerned Cooper Tire, Apollo deal could fall apart

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Leaders in Findlay are concerned about the future of the Flag City's largest employer.

Fears are growing that the $2.2 billion merger between Cooper Tire and India-based Apollo Tyres could fall apart.

13 ABC's Christine Long reports from Cooper's corporate headquarters in Findlay.

If completed, the deal would create the seventh largest tire company in the world, but conflicts between the two tire companies are escalating.

Apollo is seeking a lower price tag.

Cooper is rejecting that offer and going to court to require Apollo to quickly close the deal.

"Everybody within the City of Findlay and Hancock County is very much involved and is following the situation," says Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik.

Mihalik says all eyes are on Cooper Tire which employs nearly one thousand people at its tire plant in the Flag City.

"We need Cooper Tire to stay in Findlay and we hope that they're making tires in Findlay, Ohio, for a long time," Mihalik.

Back in June, Cooper announced the pending merger with Apollo Tyres in India. The Board of Directors for both companies approved the sale of Cooper for 35 dollars per share.

But now Apollo wants a lower price than the $2.2 billion pending agreement because of added costs for union matters.

Last month an arbitrator ruled an agreement must be reached with the United Steelworkers for the deal to close. The union represents employees in Findlay and Texarkana, Arkansas.

Cooper filed a complaint in court last week saying Apollo is breaching the merger agreement by delaying a resolution with the union.

Cooper Chairman and CEO Roy Armes released a statement saying, "Cooper has an obligation to protect the rights of our shareholders, who voted overwhelmingly in favor of the merger. With their approval, we have met our conditions for closing."

"We just hope that the deal goes through," says Mihalik.

Leaders in Hancock County are concerned, but hopeful.

"We've heard from Cooper execs that this is a great deal, that things are going to go well and it's the best thing for the company, it's best for its long term sustainability, but the you see other issues that I don't think they necessarily foresaw coming," says Mihalik.

Under the terms of the agreement, if the deal is delayed past December 31st, it can be terminated without penalty.

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