AKRON—Now that the $2.5 billion deal to purchase Cooper Tire and & Rubber Co. is official, what is next for the combined company?
The answer is still to be determined, according to Rich Kramer, Goodyear chairman, CEO and president.
In a video posted on Goodyear's channel on LinkedIn, Kramer said integration is "ongoing and will take some time yet to come together. Many specifics are still to be determined ..."
But he did list three items that will remain unchanged for the rest of 2021:
- Existing strategies for the brands, product portfolios, programs and promotions;
- Goodyear and Cooper production launches will remain on track; and
- In the near term, the plan for the "combined manufacturing footprint" will stay the same.
"As we begin this new chapter, we have positive momentum and tremendous support from our stakeholders," Kramer said. "Our team is positioned to lead the industry in a way neither of us could have done on our own. And we have an historic opportunity in front of us. That opportunity is the chance is to be the leading tire company in an evolving world of new mobility."
The deal unites two 100-year-old-plus, Ohio-based companies—Goodyear, based in Akron, is 123 years old; and Cooper, based in Findlay, Ohio, is 107 years old.
Originally forecast to close in the fourth quarter, the deal closed less than four months after it was announced.
In his four-minute video, Kramer said the deal "marks the latest exciting milestone, and one of the most significant in our lifetimes" for Goodyear.
He said the merger "unites our shared focus on customers, innovations and high-quality products and solutions. This combination strengthens Goodyear's ability to serve more consumers globally and provides increased scale to support our greater investments in new mobility and fleet solutions.
"The completed acquisition creates a combined company that offers many important benefits to all who choose our products."
Kramer noted the merger will provide three immediate benefits:
- It provides comprehensive offering of high quality brands across the "value spectrum."
- It doubles Goodyear's presence in China and significantly enhances the tire maker's reach in North America, creating more distribution for Cooper products through Goodyear's 2,500 branded retail stores; and
- It combines "Goodyear's original equipment and premium replacement tires, along with the mid-tier power of the Cooper brand," Kramer said, "which has particular strength in the light truck and SUV segments."
Kramer said Goodyear will build "relationships with consumers, by providing what they need and making it easy to choose our brands; with customers by helping them build their businesses, so we can win together; with our associates, by engaging and enabling them to safely reach their full potential; and with our communities, by helping them improve the lives of our neighbors where we live and work."
From a financial perspective, Kramer said the transaction provides "significant" immediate and long-term benefits, providing the opportunity for increased sales and earnings, a more robust balance sheet and enhanced efficiencies.
"The greater scale of our business will support investments in new mobility and fleet services," Kramer said. "Our company will offer tire products and broad selection of services through Goodyear relationships with traditional and emerging original equipment manufacturers, with autonomous driving developers, with new and established fleet operators and with other mobility platforms."
Kramer said the pairing brings together two teams that share a commitment to integrity, quality, agility, customer service and teamwork.
"Simply put: We will be an even stronger business, setting the pace in the industry with the ability to grow faster and expand further," he said.
"Each company is fortunate to have talented and dedicated associates. By joining forces, we will infuse the company with terrific talent through a best-of-both-worlds approach to integration. "
Kramer closed his talk by welcoming Cooper's team to the Goodyear umbrella.
"We're excited to welcome all of our Cooper associates to the Goodyear team," he said, "and we look forward to what we can accomplish together."