UPDATE 1-Glencore in talks on agriculture assets -sources
* Glencore hopes to close deal by early next year
* Banker says Canadian pension fund CPPIB interested
* Sources say Japanese trade houses also interested (Adds details, background; changes story title to GLENCORE-AGRICULTURE)
By Sarah McFarlane, Euan Rocha and Clara Denina
LONDON/TORONTO, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Glencore is in talks with a Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund and China's state-backed grain trader COFCO, along with Canadian pension funds, to sell a stake in its agricultural assets, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Selling assets is one prong of a wider strategy by the Swiss-based trader and miner to cut about a third of its $30 billion debts and regain investor trust, after its shares tumbled by about three-quarters this year to record lows in tandem with weak global commodity prices.
Glencore declined to comment while COFCO was not immediately available to comment.
Last month Glencore said it was hoping to raise $2 billion from selling assets including a minority stake in its agriculture assets by early next year. The sources did not say the likely size of the stake being sold or the likely amount it would raise.
UBS analyst Myles Allsop has valued Glencore's entire agriculture business at between $10 and $12 billion. Continued...