Appliance giant Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) has offered to purchase Maytag Corp. (MYG) for $1.37 billion in cash and stock, topping an existing buyout offer for the maker of Hoover vacuums and the Jenn-Air brand.

Whirlpool said late Sunday that its offer of $17 per share for Newton, Iowa-based Maytag represents a 21 percent premium over the offer from Triton Acquisition Holding Co. Whirlpool also would assume Maytag's debt of $969 million.

"This transaction will provide Maytag shareholders with superior value compared to the current offer," Jeff M. Fettig, Whirlpool's chairman, president and chief executive, said in a statement. "Equally important, the combination fits Whirlpool's strategy and capabilities, will create strong value for our shareholders and provide direct benefits to consumers and trade customers."

Whirlpool planned a conference call Monday morning to discuss the proposal with financial analysts. Telephone messages seeking comment were left unreturned Sunday night with Maytag.

On May 19, Maytag agreed to be acquired by Triton, an entity organized by the New York investment company Ripplewood Holdings LLC, for $14 a share, in a deal valued at about $1.13 billion.

But on June 20, Maytag said it was considering a preliminary $1.28 billion bid from Bain Capital, Blackstone Group and China's Haier America that valued Maytag at $16 per share.

Whirlpool has annual sales of about $13 billion, 68,000 employees and about 50 factories and research centers worldwide. Maytag, which promotes its washing machines in ads featuring a lonely repairman, had a loss of $9 million last year as sales slipped 1.5 percent to $4.7 billion.

Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool sells Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Brastemp, Bauknecht, Consul and other major brand names in more than 170 countries. Maytag's brands include Maytag, Amana, Hoover, Jenn-Air and Magic Chef.