DAYTON, Ohio (AP) _ Philips Industries Inc. said today it has agreed to be acquired by a unit of Merrill Lynch & Co. for $750 million in cash.

Under the deal, which was signed on Sunday, MLPI Holdings Inc. will pay $25.50 for each of Philips' outstanding shares.

Jessie Philips, company chairman and founder, said he expects the merger to be completed by the end of the year, pending approval of shareholders. He said the current management team is expected to remain intact.

The 32-year-old company manfacturers components for building, transportation and other industries.

MLPI Holdings was formed by Merrill Lynch Capital Partners Inc. to complete the deal. MLPI Holdings said it has received commitments from Merrill Lynch & Co. for up to $250 million of subordinated debt and up to $150 million of equity from Merrill Lynch Capital Appreciation Fund II.

As part of the agreement, Philips' board can provide information to other parties that request it and may negotiate with other companies. Philips said its financial advisor is Salomon Brothers Inc.