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Goodyear board votes to speed up termination of shareholder rights plan

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s board of directors has voted to amend the company's shareholder rights plan, its "poison pill" anti-takeover provision.

Originally scheduled to expire on July 29, 2006, the board voted to accelerate the expiration date to June 1, 2004.

The program is a defense that makes it more difficult for an outside entity to take over the company.

It is designed to kick in when an entity acquires 15% of Goodyear's stock. At that point, Goodyear shareholders would be offered the opportunity to buy additional shares at a reduced price.

"We're not doing this in response to any pending takeover," says a Goodyear spokesman.

The plan's early termination was called for by shareholders, he adds.

"Companies are moving away from these things."

"These actions by our board are further evidence of Goodyear's commitment to strong and responsive corporate governance," says Robert Keegan, chairman and CEO.

In addition, the board instituted restrictions on its ability to adopt a shareholder rights plan in the future.

The Akron, Ohio-based tiremaker's shareholders rights plan dates back to Sir James Goldsmith's attempted raid of the company in the 1980s.

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