Taylor: 'Titan, One Equity are close to reaching a deal'

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Titan International Inc. and One Equity Partners LLC, the private equity firm that wants to buy the Quincy, Ill.-based specialty tire manufacturer, may have a definitive purchase agreement in place by the end of this month, Titan Chairman and CEO Morry Taylor has told

"Due diligence is done for One Equity," says Taylor. "So One Equity and a special committee (from Titan) will start negotiating a definitive agreement.

"As they get that done, you have to get it printed up, then you have to call a special election for shareholders and it's put out in a proxy to them. Then they have to vote on it and it's over."

One Equity Partners is aprivate equity affiliate of JPMorgan Chase & Co. It announced its intention to purchase Titan in a cash merger this past October.

The merger would be for $18 per share of Titan's common stock, according to Titan officials.

One Equity has offices in New York, New York; Chicago, Ill.; and Frankfurt, Germany. It manages $5 billion in investments for JPMorgan in direct private equity transactions.

In late December, Titan completed its acquisition of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s farm tire division for $100 million.

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