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( BF) unsolicited $37-a-share bid and put itself on the block.

Engelhard, the Iselin, N.J., chemicals giant, called BASF's $4.9 billion proposal "inadequate." Though the BASF bid offered Engelhard shareholders a 23% premium back when it was unveiled at the start of the year, Engelhard shares have since shot well past the German company's target and traded late Tuesday at $39.71.

BASF said Jan. 3 that the acquisition of Engelhard would make BASF a leading provider worldwide in the dynamically growing catalyst market. BASF said at the time that it would boost the bid by as much as a dollar a share if only Engelhard would share confidential information, a suggestion Engelhard rejected. Engelhard also declined to enter negotiations with BASF, prompting the German company to promise a tender offer that has yet to materialize.