UPDATE: Oracle urges Thoratec to find buyer

The board of Thoratec ($THOR) is being urged by shareholder Oracle Investment Management to find a suitable buyer because the implantable heart pump maker has proven "unable to maximize shareholder value as an independent company."

In the letter, Oracle says the left ventricular assist device market is expected to grow rapidly, adding that in the near term, it could increase from 4,000 implants in 2010 to about 10,000 by 2015. However, Thoratec has failed to meaningfully expand its LVAD market share, especially in Europe.

"We believe that an auction process would be the most effective means to find a suitable acquirer and urge the Board of Directors to take action now to retain an independent investment bank to maximize shareholder value," according to the letter, which is signed by founder Larry Feinberg.

Feinberg told Bloomberg Thoratec would be an "undeniable" fit for Medtronic ($MDT), St. Jude Medical ($STJ) and Boston Scientific ($BSX). Other potential candidates are Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Abbott Labs ($ABT).

This isn't the first time a potential sale of Thoratec has come up. Back in October, Canaccord Genuity analyst Jason Mills called it one of 5 medtech companies that he viewed as potential acquisition targets within the next year.

- see the Oracle letter
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