Updated to include premarket stock price

BILLERICA, Mass. ( TheStreet) -- Millipore ( MIL) has reached an agreement to be acquired by Germany's Merck for $107 a share in cash, or a total of $7.2 billion, including debt.

Merck's agreement to buy Millipore, a maker of biotech equipment, follows reports last week that Millipore was in talks to be acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific ( TMO). The deal's value was reported as $6 billion, excluding debt.

"This transaction is very attractive to shareholders, customers and employees of both companies," said Karl-Ludwig Kley, chairman of Merck's executive board of Merck, in a statement. "This is a combination with an excellent strategic fit, which will allow us to cover the entire value chain for our pharma and biopharma customers, offering integrated solutions beyond chemicals."

Merck and Millipore said the merger would create a $2.9 billion partnership in the life sciences sector, "achieving significant scale in high-margin specialty products with an attractive growth profile."

Merck's offer is a 13.3% premium to Millipore's closing price Friday of $94.41. Millipore shares closed Friday, Feb. 19, the last day before news of a deal broke, at $71.34.

Millipore shares were changing hands at $105.09 in premarket trading Monday.

Merck anticipates that the transaction will be completed in the second half of 2010. Approval is needed from Millipore shareholders.

-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York.

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