BREA, California ( TheStreet) -- Danaher ( DHR) reached an agreement to buy Beckman Coulter ( BEC), a maker of biomedical testing equipment, for $83.50 a share in cash, or about $6.8 billion including assumed debt.

The purchase price is a 46% premium over Beckman Coulter's closing price of $57.09 on Dec. 9, 2010, before rumors of an acquisition first surfaced, the companies said in a statement Monday.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2011.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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