Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp. said Tuesday it has agreed to buy US grain giant Gavilon LLC for about $3.6 billion in the largest cross-border move by a Japanese company this year.
By acquiring the US firm, Marubeni "will achieve a total dealing amount of more than 55 million tonnes worldwide and further strengthen its competitiveness of grain trade," it said in a statement.
Marubeni, which is one of Japan's largest trading companies and among the world's biggest grain dealers, may pay up to $5.0 billion for Gavilon including debt, Dow Jones Newswires reported, citing unnamed sources.
A Marubeni spokeswoman also told AFP on Tuesday that there would be a "minor adjustment later" to the price tag under terms of the agreement.
Japanese media have said that acquiring Gavilon will turn the Japanese trading house into a global grain leader alongside US-based Cargill Inc.
Gavilon, based in the state of Nebraska, handles corn, wheat and other grains, trailing Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland.
Marubeni's purchase marks the largest cross-border acquisition by a Japanese company so far this year, according to data provider Dealogic.
Japanese companies have been aggressively seeking mergers and acquisitions abroad in recent years, taking advantage of the yen's strength to diversify their operations and make them globally competitive.
Trading houses particularly have moved to scoop up resources and commodities. Marubeni has spent around $11 billion abroad since the start of 2011.