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Manufacturer Danaher (NYSE:DHR) scooped up medical diagnostics company Beckman Coulter (NYSE:BEC) on Monday for about $6.8 billion, marking a 45% premium before rumors of a potential deal began swirling.

The all-cash deal places an $83.50-a-share value on Brea, Calif.-based Beckman, which makes and markets biomedical testing instrument systems, tests and supplies.

The companies anticipate the transaction closing in the first half of 2011.

“We believe this transaction maximizes Beckman Coulter shareholder value while strengthening the company's position as a leader in biomedical testing to the benefit of our customers and their healthcare patients around the world,” Beckman CEO Bob Hurley said in a statement, calling the process “very comprehensive and competitive.”

Beckman would become part of Danaher’s Life Sciences & Diagnostics division, teaming up with Danaher’s Leica, AB Sciex and Radiometer businesses.

“Beckman Coulter is an iconic company with a great brand, broad reach and technology leadership; well positioned in the markets it serves,” Danaher CEO H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., said in a statement.

The deal news drove Danaher’s stock up 4.5% to $50.15 ahead of Monday’s open. Beckman’s stock was up 10% to $82.60.