Japan's post office has agreed to buy a leading Australian transportation company in a $5.1 billion deal that will give the Japanese company an Asian distribution network.

The board of Melbourne-based Toll Holdings Ltd. said Wednesday that it is recommending to shareholders that they accept the offer of A$9.04 per share, a 49 percent premium over Tuesday's closing price. The offer price values Toll at a 6.5 billion Australian dollars ($5.1 billion).

The acquisition comes ahead of Japan Post's planned listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange later this year. The initial public offering is part of the ongoing privatization of the state-owned postal, banking and insurance giant. It is seeking new sources of growth overseas as Japan enters an era of population decline.

A Toll statement said that Japan Post sees Toll as the vehicle through which it will become a global logistics company. The Toll brand would be preserved, it said, and the company would become a Japan Post division that spearheads its global operations.

"In partnership with Toll we are starting a new chapter of looking outward and becoming a leading global player," said Japan Post President Toru Takahashi.

Toll is a logistics company employing about 40,000 people in more than 50 countries. Its businesses include freight, document delivery and warehouse storage.

Shares of the Australian company surged nearly 47 percent in Sydney.