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Engelhard Still Eludes BASF

The Iselin company notes that the faint response to BASF’s $37-per-share tender offer suggests that stockholders agree with its board.Engelhard (NYSE: EC) in Iselin today reiterated its rejection of BASF’s tenacious $4.9 billion takeover bid. The German chemical maker yesterday said that less than 1% of Engelhard’s outstanding shares were tendered in response to its unsolicited $37-per-share offer that has been extended to March 17.

The New Jersey-based materials science company noted that the faint response suggests that shareholders agree with its board, which supports looking into other strategic alternatives. “To that end, we welcome BASF’s participation in the process, provided that it occurs on terms that are not detrimental to securing a favorable outcome for Engelhard stockholders,” the company said in a statement.

“Unless and until we are able to reach a resolution on the confidentiality agreement, however, we will conclude the process without BASF’s participation and are confident that we will achieve our stated goal.”

On Feb. 21 Engelhard offered to release financial statements–under a confidentiality agreement–to all bidders. Under the agreement, a “standstill” provision bars bidders from acquiring additional shares without Engelhard’s consent.

Engelhard’s board has unanimously recommended that stockholders continue to reject BASF’s $37-per-share offer.

Meantime, Reuters reported this morning that BASF has no plans to boost its offer and termed Engelhard’s response an “obvious delaying tactic.”

Engelhard shares changed hands at $39.48, up 0.3%, in morning trading.