Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Glencore Plc is nearing a deal to sell a minority stake in its agricultural business to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board that would value the whole business at about $6 billion, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Canadian Pension, the country’s largest pension fund, is in talks to acquire a 40 percent stake in the unit for about $2.4 billion, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. A transaction could be announced within days, the person said.

The sale is part of a companywide debt-cutting program that Glencore Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg announced in September. The Swiss commodities trader and miner has said it’s seeking to complete the sale in the first half.

Glencore became a major agriculture player when it agreed to buy Canadian grain handler Viterra Inc. for C$6.1 billion ($4.6 billion) in 2012.

The company has scrapped its dividend, closed mines and sold $2.5 billion of shares. After reporting a 69 percent drop in annual profit last month, the company pledged to bring its net debt as low as $17 billion, $1 billion less than previously stated, and to raise as much as $5 billion from selling assets.

Representatives for Glencore and Canada Pension declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Glencore was near a deal to sell a stake in its agricultural business to Canada Pension.

Peter Grauer, chairman of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, is a senior independent non-executive director at Glencore.

To contact the reporters on this story: Scott Deveau in Toronto at sdeveau2@bloomberg.net, Jesse Riseborough in London at jriseborough@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Elizabeth Fournier at efournier5@bloomberg.net, Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth Wollman

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