AKRON (Jan. 22)—South Korea's Kumho Group expects to decide by early February on a preferred offer for majority ownership of its tire activities, but a final agreement will be subject to further talks, according to Kyu S. Cho, president of Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc. Kumho Group is offering up to 80 percent control of its tire business to outside investors. Earlier this month, the company accepted two bids—from consortia led by investment bankers Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Carlyle Group, a private U.S. equity fund enterprise—and management is now evaluating them. The parties involved declined to discuss the possible transaction value; Asian media valued the stake at up to $1.5 billion. Kumho reported tire sales of $1.23 billion in fiscal 2000. Kumho Group is a diversified concern with activities in airlines, construction, petrochemicals, finance, ground transportation and tires.