Exclusive: Marubeni's $5.6 billion Gavilon deal hits delay

Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:18am EDT
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By James Topham and Karl Plume

TOKYO/CHICAGO (Reuters) - The completion of Japanese trader Marubeni Corp's purchase of U.S. grain merchant Gavilon is being delayed by at least two months as talks on ownership of an important West Coast export terminal and regulatory reviews hold up the $5.6 billion deal, people familiar with the matter said.

Marubeni's biggest acquisition catapults it into the top ranks of global grain merchants and puts it in pole position to meet rising demand from China, where anti-competition regulators are also casting their eye over the transaction.

In the United States, the sticking point for the deal is centered around the handling of business ties between Gavilon and grain giant Archer Daniels Midland, who jointly are the majority owners of Kalama Export Company, one of the biggest U.S. West Coast terminals.

The completion of the transaction, initially slated for September, won't take place until November, as officials in both the United States and China consider the anti-trust implications of the takeover, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

They said the delay had nothing to do with concerns over the concentration of ownership of American grain elevators or due to opposition towards a foreign company acquiring U.S. assets.

"It's just regulatory procedures. It's nothing significant," said one person familiar with the matter.

A Marubeni spokesman declined to comment.

TRICKY TO UNWIND   Continued...

A receptionist works in front of the logo of Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp at the company's headquarters in Tokyo in this May 29, 2012 file photograph. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao