FRANKFURT, Germany - BASF AG, the world's largest chemical company, is offering $4.9 billion in cash for New Jersey-based rival Engelhard Corp., a Fortune 500 company and leading supplier of goods for catalysis and surface finishing, including special-effect and pearlescent pigments. By acquiring Engelhard, BASF would become a leading provider worldwide in the dynamically growing catalyst market. The proposal reflects what BASF believes is an opportunity for significant value for Engelhard's stockholders: a robust premium over Engelhard's current stock price and a fully financed, all-cash transaction, with no significant regulatory hurdles anticipated.