Baker McKenzie and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have assumed lead roles on Japanese conglomerate Hitachi Ltd.’s $6.4 billion acquisition of a power grid business from Swiss engineering group ABB Ltd.

The deal, expected to close in the first half of 2020, will be Hitachi’s largest-ever acquisition and make the Japanese conglomerate the world’s second-largest heavy electrical equipment maker by revenue, behind General Electric, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

Hitachi will first acquire an 80.1 percent stake in the power grids unit and retain the option to acquire the remaining stake, making the unit a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate.

Baker McKenzie London partners David Allen and Jannan Crozier are advising Hitachi. They are supported by Tokyo partners Akifusa Takada and Yutaka Kimura.

The global legal giant previously advised Hitachi subsidiaries, including power tools maker Hitachi Koki Co. Ltd. on a $180 million acquisition of German power tools maker Metabo AG in 2016; and management consultancy Hitachi Consulting Corp. on its acquisition of Singapore-based technology consultancy Stone Apple Solutions Pte. Ltd. in 2014.

Freshfields London partners Piers Prichard Jones and Stephen Hewes are advising ABB. Jones previously advised the Swiss company on a $1.3 billion acquisition of British power equipment maker Chloride Group plc in 2010.

The Hitachi-ABB deal comes as a wave of Japanese companies are making acquisitions abroad. Drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., for example, is acquiring London-listed Shire for $62 billion. That deal is expected to close on Jan. 8.

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