Medical-device maker St. Jude
On Wednesday, St. Jude announced its acquisition of fellow medical-device maker EP MedSystems
Rather than diluting its own shares, though, St. Jude authorized a $50 million increase to its stock buyback program -- more than enough to cover the new shares issued to EP MedSystems' shareholders. It's a little weird that St. Jude didn't just pay all cash for the company -- it had more than $420 million in cash and short-term investments at the end of last year. Perhaps St. Jude figures that if its stock drops, it'll be able to repay the "debt" more cheaply, and if its stock skyrockets, investors will forget about the buyback authorization.
The $92 million purchase price lies at the opposite end of the buyout spectrum from Boston Scientific's
While Guidant had many, many products, St. Jude just wanted the two main systems that tiny EP MedSystems makes. The first is its electrophysiology recording system, which monitors patients' heart rates with add-ons that allow for heart pacing. More importantly, St. Jude was likely after EP's intracardiac ultrasound echocardiography (ICE) system. The system allows doctors to see inside a patient's heart with a catheter. St. Jude's much stronger sales force should be able to push these products and produce sales growth faster than EP MedSystems could do on its own.
Investors will be able to get more information about the transaction -- like whether executives have been watching old reruns of Popeye -- at the company's upcoming earnings release next Wednesday. Stay tuned Fools.
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