BASF clears Engelhard cartel review, extends offer
Mon Feb 6, 2006 2:44 AM ET
NEW YORK/FRANKFURT, Feb 6 (Reuters) - German chemical company BASF AG said on Monday it had received approval from U.S. antitrust authorities to proceed with its hostile $4.9 billion bid for pigment and catalyst maker Engelhard Corp.
BASF, the world's top chemicals company by sales, said it had made regulatory filings required under European Union merger regulations and expected to get the necessary approvals by about the end of this month.
BASF said it extended the expiration date of its cash tender offer to March 3 from the earlier scheduled end on Monday, and planned to solicit proxies for use at Engelhard's 2006 annual shareholders' meeting.
The company has put forward two candidates for election to Engelhard's board.
BASF said 54,896 Engelhard shares had been tendered in the offer by the close of business on Friday.
Engelhard's management has rejected BASF's offer as inadequate and has said it is exploring other options including a sale. Chief Executive Barry Perry told a conference call last week the company had not received any offer higher than BASF's.
If BASF is successful, the deal will be the biggest takeover in its 140-year history.
The German company, which makes a range of products from plastics to pesticides, wants to buy Engelhard to reduce the cyclicality of its range of products and use up excess cash generated by its efficient manufacturing processes.
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