DOVER, Del.Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and India's Apollo Tyres Ltd. are headed back to Delaware Chancery Court to try and sort out their stalled take-over/merger negotiations after the Delaware Supreme Court reversed itself Dec. 17 on an appeal by Cooper Tire of an earlier ruling by the Delaware Chancery Court.
The Supreme Court had been scheduled to hear arguments on the matter on Dec. 19, but instead now contends its granting of Cooper's appeal on Nov. 15 was improvidently accepted, whichaccording to legal definitionmeans the court recognized it made a mistake in granting the appeal in the first place.
Cooper's action was meant to expedite completion of the $2.5 billion acquisition/merger deal by Apollo. The ruling means the case reverts to the Delaware Chancery Court, where, as of the deadline for this issue there were no hearings scheduled.
In prepared statements, Apollo Tyres and Cooper Tire expressed markedly different reactions to the court's ruling.
Apollo said it is pleased with the decision, which did more than dismiss Cooper's appeal,... while Cooper called the court's action a procedural ruling that was not based on the merits of the issue on appeal.
In its statement, Apollo called out Cooper for its litigation strategy, which has done nothing but generate unnecessary cost for its shareholders and for Apollo, and compound the obstacles that Cooper's situation has created for this merger.
Apollo also reiterated its stance that it continues to believe in the merits of merging with Cooper and is committed to finding a sensible way forward, if possible.
For its part, Cooper maintains its belief that Apollo has breached the merger agreement, and said it will continue to pursue our legal options as we work to protect the interests of our company and our stockholders.
Cooper filed suit against Apollo in the Delaware Chancery Court on Oct. 4 seeking to compel Apollo to expeditiously close the pending $2.5 billion merger of the two companies.
Apollo and Cooper first made their buyout/merger plan public on June 12, declaring the merged entity would become the world's seventh largest tire maker with annual sales of about $6.6 billion.
Cooper is facing a Dec. 31 deadline, which according to terms of the companies' merger agreement signed in May, is the date by which Apollo can terminate the agreement if the parties have not concluded the terms of the agreement satisfactorily.