German pharmaceutical giant Merck KGaA has announced a deal to buy US biotech equipment maker Millipore in a deal valued at $7.2bn.

Millipore, which supplies tests and equipment to the biotechnology industry, confirmed at the end of February that it was contemplating a possible sale.

The company hired Goldman Sachs to act as a financial adviser and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP as a legal adviser to help it consider its options.

On 28 February Merck announced it would pay $107 per share in cash for Millipore and expects the deal will be completed in the second half of 2010.

The purported share price would mark a 50% premium to Millipore’s $71.34 closing stock price on 19 February, the last trading day before takeover reports surfaced.