Skadden Arps Slater Meagher & Flom is acting for Japanese trading company Marubeni Corp. on its $5.6 billion acquisition of Gavilon Group, an Omaha-based grain trading company. Jones Day is advising Gavilon.
The acquisition is the largest-ever for Marubeni and represents a bid by the company, already the largest agricultural commodities trader in Japan, to become a world leader in the sector on a par with U.S. giants like Cargill Inc. and the Archer Daniels Midland Co. According to the FT, the company is betting on rising demand for grain in Asia, especially China.

Trading companies like Marubeni have been at the forefront of a recent boom in Japanese outbound investment, fueled in part by the strong yen. As the Asian Lawyer explored in a feature last week, the volume and scale of deals involving trading companies make them sought-after clients for international law firms, but their unique role in the Japanese economy can also create complications for lawyers.
The Skadden partners leading the deal are Patricia Moran and Sally Thurston in New York and  Nobuhisa Ishizuka in Tokyo . Last December, Skadden also advised Marubeni on a $350 million investment in a Chilean mining project, Antucoya. The acquisition of Gavilon will surpass Marubeni’s $3.4 billion joint bid for Philippine power plants in 2006, a deal also advised by Skadden.
The Jones Day team is being led by New York-based partners Robert Kennedy and Nicholas Rodriguez. Kennedy also led a Jones Day team in advising Gavilon’s acquisition of DeBruce Grain in, a Kansas City-based agricultural company, in 2010.