Cooper Discoverer

Cooper Tires selling to India - the good and the bad of it

One of America's last domestic tire makers is being sold to a tire company in India. On the face of it, this sounds bad, but there are some good points as well.

If you are an offroad enthusiast, drive a commercial vehicle, or own a truck, then you know Cooper. Cooper Tire & Rubber opened up shop in 1914 and, though independent dealers and sellers, has grown to become the 11th-largest tire maker in the world. Cooper makes mostly premium and mid-tier tires in most common on-road vehicle sizes, but is best known for its highly reputable offroad-ready truck tires and its commercial vehicle fleet tires.

In a surprise announcement last month, Cooper said that it would be bought out by the newer and smaller Apollo Tyres of India in a $2.5 billion deal. The deal was a shock because Apollo is a larger company by volume, but smaller in U.S. sales and overall net worth. The two companies had been talking about collaborating in Europe and Asia to both expand Cooper's reach and add product lines to Apollo's lineup. The negotiations eventually lead to a stock buyout offering to Cooper's shareholders.

Reactions to this were mixed. The company's thousands of independent dealers across the U.S. were generally unhappy, but downplayed the negatives while the press took either the "selling out" tack or the "it won't be so bad" angle. Now that there's been some time for the initial shock to wear off, things are still a mix, but at least the contradictions have settled and we can see what is likely to come of this buyout deal.


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