Cooper Tire Blames Delay in $2.5 Billion Buyout on Apollo

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. (CTB) could have quickly closed an agreement with the United Steelworkers union and expedited a planned $2.5 billion buyout by Apollo Tyres Ltd. (APTY) if it had been allowed to take part in union negotiations, a lawyer testified today at trial.

Instead, Apollo delayed the USW talks and insisted Cooper be excluded, Stanley Weiner, a Cooper negotiator from the Jones Day LP law firm told Delaware Chancery Court Judge Sam Glasscock III in the second day of the non-jury proceedings in Wilmington.

If Cooper had been included together with Apollo, they could “get it done” in “days to a week,” Weiner said. Apollo’s attitude was “there’s no place for Cooper,” he said.

At one point, Gurgaon, India-based Apollo offered union workers a $1,000 bonus each -- which the union rejected, Weiner said.

The union had a “wish list of all the things they were going to get done” without Cooper in the mix, slowing things down, Weiner said.

Glasscock is being asked to decide whether troubles with the United Steelworkers union and a Chinese affiliate of Findlay, Ohio-based Cooper are significant enough to change the value of the company, or whether to force the original deal. Apollo has said it now favors a price lower than the contractual $35 a share, to help pay for concessions to the union.

The case is Cooper Tire v. Apollo, CA8980, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Milford in Chancery Court in Wilmington, Delaware, at pmilford@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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