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Apollo Tyres Says Quick Cooper Appeal Ruling Isn’t Needed

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. won expedited status for its appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court seeking to get Apollo Tyres Ltd. to complete a buyout at $35 a share, with arguments set for Dec. 19.

The justices said in an order today that preliminary briefings are to be completed by Dec. 16, and the hearing will begin at 10:30 a.m. three days later in Dover, Delaware.

Apollo told the justices in a filing earlier that there was no need to fast-track the appeal. A Delaware Chancery Court judge ruled Nov. 8 that all contract conditions hadn’t been met, and that he couldn’t force Apollo, which seeks a lower price, to complete the $2.5 billion buyout. Cooper appealed and asked the state’s top court to rule by Dec. 31.

Cooper needed to release third-quarter financial statements within 45 days of the end of the fiscal quarter -- by yesterday -- and hasn’t, Apollo lawyers wrote.

“Accordingly, neither Cooper nor Apollo is in a position to compel funding of the transaction financing,” and there is “no good cause” to hurry up the case, Apollo argued.

Cooper, based in Findlay, Ohio, said June 12 it would be bought by Gurgaon, India-based Apollo. When Apollo failed to complete the deal as scheduled on Oct. 4, Cooper sued.

The financial release has been stymied by officials at Cooper’s Chinese unit, Chengshan Group Co., which operates the company’s biggest plant and stopped making Cooper tires on July 13 in protest of the Apollo deal. The unit is barring Cooper officials from entering the facilities and won’t provide financial information needed to complete Cooper’s report.

“At most, Cooper could seek money damages, which does not require an expedited appeal,” Apollo contended in its filing..

The case is Cooper v. Apollo, 624-2013, Supreme Court of Delaware (Dover).

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