Fisher Scientific ( FSH) and Apogent Technologies ( AOT) Wednesday said they were merging in a stock-swap deal valued at $2.7 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Apogent shareholders will receive 0.56 shares of Fisher Scientific's stock for each share. Based on Fisher's closing price of $52.32 on March 16, the offer is worth $29.30 a share. Apogent shares closed at $27.28 yesterday. The merger between the two New Hampshire-based companies combines Fisher's scientific equipment and instruments business with Apogent's laboratory and life science products, creating a company with revenue of about $5 billion. Fisher, whose shareholders will control 57% of the merged company, said the deal will be accretive to earnings starting in 2005, when the company expects to earn $3.45 to $3.65 a share. The companies also expect cost savings of $55 million in 2005 and $100 million a year by the end of 2006. Fisher will assume about $1 billion dollars in debt in the deal, which is expected to be completed early in the third quarter of this year. Recently, Fisher shares rose 26 cents, or 0.5%, to $52.58, while Apogent's gained $1.32, or 4.7%, to $29.10.