Japanese trading house Marubeni has announced the largest acquisition in its history, of U.S. grain trader Gavilon, for $5 billion, making this the largest outbound deal by a Japanese company this year.
Excluding debt, the transaction is worth $3.6 billion.
The goal of the acquisition is Marubeni’s strengthening in the grain trade business with China, whose imported corn demand is booming.
“It’s a move to complete a grains-supply chain of elevators, export terminals, freight handling and an end-user market, and the target is the growing market of China,” commented Akio Shibata, president of the Natural Resource Research Institute in Tokyo.
Japanese corporations are very active this year when it comes to buying out other firms abroad. Unlike the 1980s frenzy, however, this time it is about survival, the Wall Street Journal comments. Many Japanese companies are affected by slow growth and, at the same time, sit on piles of cash.
Other two big acquisitions announced this year are Mitsubishi Corp’s $2.9 billion buying of oil and gas assets in Canada and Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma’s $2.6 billion purchase of Boston Biomedical Inc.