FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ German chemical company BASF AG said Monday it had begun its $4.9 billion hostile takeover of Engelhard Corp. in a bid to increase its global materials production.
Ludwigshafen-based BASF signaled its intent last week when it said its efforts over the holidays to approach the company with a friendly takeover offer were rebuffed.
Instead, BASF, one of the world's biggest chemical companies, has appealed directly to Iselin, N.J.-based Engelhard's shareholders, offering them $37 for each outstanding share, almost 4 percent below the company's closing stock price of $38.42 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.
Engelhard's board had no immediate comment about the offer, but has urged shareholders not to take any action until it has reviewed it.
BASF's offer is scheduled to expire Feb. 6, unless it extends it.
By acquiring Engelhard, BASF would become a leading provider worldwide in the fast-growing catalyst market and combine the companies' research and development arms.