Waupaca Foundry in Waupaca, Wisconsin
Waupaca Foundry in Waupaca, Wisconsin (Photo by T-Bone Sandwich/Flickr)

Japan’s Hitachi Metals announced Tuesday that it had agreed to pay $1.3 billion in cash to acquire Wisconsin’s Waupaca Foundry, a key supplier to the automotive industry, from private equity firm KPS Capital Partners.

Bloomberg reports that the deal by Hitachi Metals is the largest ever for the Tokyo-based specialty metals producer, which is a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Hitachi. Bingham McCutchen, a firm known for its Japanese dealmaking expertise, has taken the lead on the deal for Hitachi.

Business and financial transactional partner Len Matsunaga in Tokyo is leading a Bingham team advising Hitachi on its proposed purchase of Waupaca, which is based in the Wisconsin city of the same name. Other Bingham lawyers working on the deal include restructuring and insolvency partner Yuri Ide, government regulatory partner Goh Aizawa and corporate partner Janice Liu, who is based in Los Angeles. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

News of Hitachi’s big U.S. buy comes two weeks after longtime Bingham partner and top U.S.-Japanese dealmaker Jiro Murase passed away at 86 on Aug. 5, according to a report earlier this month by sibling publication The Asian Lawyer, which chronicled the late New Yorker’s storied history of handling cross-border deals involving companies in both nations. Bingham, which is under new leadership and seeking to rebound from a tough financial year in 2013, acquired Murase’s former firm in 1997.

As for New York-based KPS, the private equity firm has tapped longtime outside counsel Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to advise on its sale of Waupaca to Hitachi. Angelo Bonvino, a corporate partner with the firm in New York, is leading a Paul Weiss team representing KPS on the matter. Waupaca’s in-house legal counsel is Jeremy Dobbe.

Christopher Anderson, compliance counsel for KPS, previously worked as an associate at Paul Weiss. Another former firm associate, Ryan Baker, serves as a KPS principal. Paul Weiss has handled several notable deals for KPS over the years, including the buyout firm’s 2011 acquisition of United Copper Industries and acquisition of Waupaca from German steelmaking giant ThyssenKrupp the following year for an undisclosed sum.