Japan’s top trading companies have emerged as frontrunners in the race to buy Gavilon as the U.S. grain and energy trader seeks final bids this week, according to several people familiar with the matter.
Marubeni Corp (8002.T), Mitsubishi Corp (8058.T) and Mitsui & Co (8031.T) have all been evaluating bids for all or part of Gavilon, even as they consider the valuation of over $5 billion (3.09 billion pounds) by the company’s owners expensive, the sources said.
A purchase of Gavilon by Japan Inc would extend a string of recent overseas acquisitions that has marked the emergence of Japan’s trading houses as controlling investors in high-profile raw materials projects ranging from oil to iron ore to liquefied natural gas.
Several Western buyers, including Swiss trader Glencore International (GLEN.L) and U.S.-based Bunge Ltd (BG.N), had previously expressed interest in buying Gavilon, which received initial bids in early March, according to the people familiar with the matter. It is not clear if anyone else other than the Japanese trading firms remains in the race.