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Engelhard Reiterates BASF Opposition

It says shareholders recognize its strategic review could yield more value.
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praised its shareholders Monday for refusing to sell into a hostile tender offer, saying it still believes a review of strategic alternatives can yield more value.

The New Jersey chemical company made the statement after its suitor, Germany's


, said that only about 1% of Engelhard's outstanding stock had been tendered under the $37-a-share offer. Engelhard's management has urged shareholders to reject the $4.9 billion offer as it explores alternatives.

"We believe that the response to BASF's unsolicited tender offer demonstrates that Engelhard stockholders recognize the offer is inadequate and that our exploration of strategic alternatives has the potential to create value greater than BASF's offer," Engelhard said.

BASF, which has previously indicated a willingness to go higher than $37 a share, on Monday extended its tender offer to March 3. The old deadline was Monday. The company noted Monday that the bid has cleared U.S. antitrust review and said it expected other regulatory conditions to be satisfied around the end of February.

Engelhard fell 4 cents to 40.32. The stock, which before this month never traded above $33, hit an all-time high of $40.92 on Jan. 27 after vaulting 27% on Jan. 3, the day the BASF offer was announced.