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Titan agrees to buy Goodyear's farm tire division

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Titan International Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s North American farm tire division for $100 million.

The acquisition will add approximately $210 million in revenue to Titan’s overall sales.

The agreement calls for offering two brands in North America, Goodyear and Titan, with Goodyear being positioned as the premium brand.

A decision will be reached regarding the location of the headquarters for the combined tire group (Des Moines, Iowa, or Freeport, Ill.) by June 2005.

"We are honored that Goodyear chose Titan to facilitate the growth of the Goodyear brand for farm tires in North America," says Titan CEO and President Morry Taylor.

"Combining Titan’s focused engineering expertise in addressing the needs of the farming community with the power of the Goodyear name creates an undeniable advantage for the American farmer."

Taylor says the linking of the Goodyear and Titan brands "will provide dealers and customers with the largest selection of farm tires manufactured by any company in North America."

Titan’s current senior lenders have agreed to fund the transaction and the company plans to raise $125 million in long-term debt or complete another convertible bond offer in the public market to reduce the senior debt.

Merrill Lynch will be responsible for leading these funding efforts.

"The closing is subject to government approval and to Titan reaching an agreement with the United Steelworkers of America membership at the Goodyear facility in Freeport, Ill.," say Titan officials.

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