OMAHA, NEBRASKA, U.S. — Several Asian trading firms, including Mitsui & Co, Marubeni Corp and Noble Group have expressed interest in Gavilon, Reuters reported on March 22, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The purchase of Gavilon, which could be valued at about $5 billion, would give each of the companies a sizable presence in key U.S. agriculture markets, Reuters said.

All three Asian companies declined to comment, the news agency said.

For Noble, the acquisition would expand the footprint of its grain and oilseeds operations, but would require heavy financing that could undermine its rating, Reuters said. Marubeni said it is pursuing global grain sales operations, and Mitsui has said it wants to strengthen grain as one of its core businesses. Mitsui already owns United Grain Corp.

Gavilon started exploring a sale and other fund-raising options in January, and first-round bids were due earlier in March, Reuters said.