If it's Monday again, it's merger time. Today's merger news hits a little closer to home because two companies that I used to follow as an analyst, St. Jude (NYSE:STJ) and Advanced NeuromodulationSystems (NASDAQ:ANSI), consummate a $1.3 billion mating dance.

St. Jude will be paying $61.25 a share in cash, a robust 30% premium to Friday's closing price. If you're an Advanced Neuromodulation Systems shareholder, I don't know how you cannot be happy about this. If you bought a year ago, you have a double. If you bought in mid-2002, like I should have, you have a triple. What's more, at more than nine times trailing sales, it's certainly a pretty respectable price by the standards of the industry.

For those not intimately familiar with Advanced Neuromodulation Systems, it is in the business of neurostimulation -- specifically spinal cord stimulation to reduce and control pain. It's a market that has been growing rapidly, and the company has managed to steal share away from Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), the current top banana. Perhaps a confirming sign of the potential of this market, BostonScientific (NYSE:BSX) also chose to get into this game by purchasing Advanced Bionics about a year ago.

St. Jude is paying a high price, so this had better work. According to St. Jude, the acquisition should add to earnings (Advanced Neuromodulation Systems is profitable) in 2007 and the company should generate enough cash flow to pay back the debt incurred also sometime in 2007. With the combination, though, I do believe there is the chance that Advanced Neuromodulation Systems could perform even better than it has on its own because it will now have access to a much larger sales and marketing infrastructure, to say nothing of potentially better funding for clinical studies as well.

I know some readers want us to be detached and unemotional about the companies we write about, but I'm not going to cooperate. Advanced Neuromodulation Systems was one of my favorite companies during my analyst days, and I can't think of any management team that I liked better than CEO Chris Chavez and Chief Financial Officer Bob Merrill. So, with that in mind, I'm happy to see them get such a public affirmation of how well they ran the business to this point.

This could also be seen as positive news for other players in the neurostimulation business, especially Cyberonics (NASDAQ:CYBX), which Advanced Neuromodulation Systems tried to buy not so long ago. There are some very considerable differences between the two companies, but this deal with St. Jude does at least demonstrates that large med-tech players may still be on the prowl for avenues into fast-growing new markets.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).