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Details of Goodyear-SRI Divorce Begin to Emerge

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While details are still flowing, news reports today say that Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and Sumitomo Rubber Industries have reached an agreement on breaking its nearly 16-year business relationship.Goodyear_NEW_HQ_Exterior_02RS

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Claiming that SRI had engaged in “anticompetitive conduct in violation of applicable antitrust law,” Goodyear in February 2014 announced that it had “began arbitration proceedings seeking the dissolution of that global alliance.” Neither party would state clearly exactly what SRI was accused of doing, or how SRI was impeding Goodyear’s interests.

Reuters and Nikkei reported this morning that there would be an official announcement of the “partnership breakup” later this week, in which both parties will “unwind cross-shareholdings.” The relationship between Goodyear and SRI included purchasing, production and product marketing across multiple continents.

The reports say that SRI will take full ownership of their North America joint ventures, and Goodyear to take over the European joint ventures; SRI will buy out Goodyear’ 25% stake in a Japanese joint venture and make it a wholly owned subsidiary; and that Goodyear will pay SRI between $240 million to $325 million for “joint venture transfers.”

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Signed in September 1999, the Goodyear-SRI alliance launched Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe (GDTE) and Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America (GDTNA), both 75% owned by Goodyear and 25% by SRI, as well as another joint venture for tire sales in Japan 25% owned by Goodyear and 75% by SRI.

The reports this morning said nothing about the future of the Dunlop brand in North America and Europe, which were being marketed by Goodyear. The alliance with SRI gave Goodyear the rights to the Dunlop brand on those two continents.

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