The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Wall Street veteran mulls tyre takeover

- By Ben Harrington

A PRIVATE equity firm led by veteran Wall Street financier Leon Black is weighing a multi-billion pound takeover of Nokian Tyres after activist investor Elliott built a shareholdi­ng in the company.

City sources said Apollo, set up by Black in 1990, is in the early stages of evaluating an offer.

‘They are kicking a few tyres,’ said one source.

However, he said the firm had only just begun looking at buying the Finland-based business.

Black is one of America’s most powerful financiers. Prior to creating Apollo, he worked at Drexel Burnham Lambert, an American investment bank that collapsed during the junk bond scandal of the 1980s.

Apollo’s interest in Nokian Tyres comes amid rumours that Italy’s Pirelli, which is backed by ChemChina, has been looking at merging the two businesses.

Nokian Tyres specialise­s in manufactur­ing winter tyres for 4x4 vehicles, while Pirelli mostly makes summer tyres.

A spokesman for Pirelli said the merger rumours were ‘without foundation’. An Apollo spokesman declined to comment.

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