Clifford Chance and Linklaters have the lead roles on Chinese state-owned food giant COFCO Corp.’s $1.5 billion acquisition of a controlling stake in the agricultural unit of Hong Kong–based supply chain company Noble Group Ltd.
Under the agreement, the two companies will form a joint venture in which COFCO will hold 51 percent of Noble Agri Ltd., with Noble holding the remainder. COFCO is looking to bolster its grain processing and distribution capabilities in China by adding Noble’s sourcing and trading operations in South America, Europe and the Middle East.
The deal follows COFCO’s $2 billion acquisition last month of Dutch grain trader Nidera. Clifford Chance also represented the Chinese company in that deal. Both transactions are seen as part of a Chinese effort to participate in global grain markets and secure new supplies of food.
Beijing partner Terence Foo and Hong Kong partner Roger Denny are leading a Clifford Chance team advising COFCO that also includes Hong Kong partner Virginia Lee, Singapore partner Raymond Tong, Beijing partner Richard Blewett, Amsterdam partner David Griston and London partner Jonathan Elman.
Linklaters Hong Kong partner Christopher Kelly is leading a team representing Noble.