NEW YORK, May 17 -- Emergent Group Inc. and Trimedyne Inc. have signed a letter of intent to merge the two companies. The terms of the merger will be finalized after both parties have completed their due diligence. The merger will be subject to negotiation of a definitive agreement, the approval of the boards of directors of both companies and, if required, by the shareholders of both companies. "This merger will allow Trimedyne's proprietary technologies to be immediately available to a much larger segment of the medical community and allow speedier access of our minimally invasive procedures such as ELF (Endoscopic Laser Foraminoplasty) to the huge patient base that can benefit from such medical advances," said William J. Schubert Jr., Trimedyne CEO and vice chairman. "The melding of our respective companies will create an organization positioned to provide high-tech surgical and medical instrumentation on a basis most conducive to today's managed care environment."