WAYNE, NJ — International Specialty Products (ISP) announced that it has terminated its acquisition discussions with Dexter Corp., but will continue a proxy contest “so that Dexter shareholders can decide for themselves how to best realize shareholder values.”

Dexter Chairman and CEO K. Grahame Walker said the announcement came as a “total surprise,” and he issued a sharply worded response to ISP chairman Samuel J. Heyman regarding Heyman’s assertion that Dexter representatives refused to meet with ISP to discuss a possible transaction agreement. Heyman also accused Dexter’s management of failing to “provide shareholders with a creditable alternative to our proposals for the company.”

Walker said Dexter offered to meet with ISP representatives, and to negotiate a transaction if ISP submitted a proposal at a “compelling price,” which he said ISP “refused to do.” Walker said Dexter was continuing to explore various strategic alternatives, including a sale of the company, a financial restructuring, or a spinoff or sale of one or more of the company’s businesses.

ISP launched a hostile takeover for Dexter late last year, and the two companies’ top executives have engaged in a war of words since then. In its most recent bid, Dexter offered to acquire Dexter for $50 a share.