M&A status: Long rumored. AtriCure ($ATRC) got an ahead-of-schedule FDA approval for its Synergy Ablation System last year, giving it the only agency-OK'd surgical device for atrial fibrillation. In the last quarter, AtriCure's revenue ticked up 6% to $16.1 million, but swelling expenses deepened the companies losses to $2.6 million from $1.2 million the year before. However, many analysts are upbeat about the company's future, as more than 5.5 million people worldwide suffer from atrial fibrillation, and AtriCure's suite of devices keeps posting revenue growth. Furthermore, new CEO Michael Carrel comes from Vital Images, a publicly traded outfit that was bought by Toshiba for $273 million during his tenure.

Likely acquirers: AtriCure is an ideal target for a company that's already a player in the heart surgery world, as its products could easily dovetail with cardiopulmonary bypass and valve-repair devices. That could mean Italy's Sorin Group, which has hardly been shy about making acquisitions over the past few years, or perhaps Cook Medical, which has been expanding its cardiovascular market share with stent launches around the world.

For more:
FDA panel gives AtriCure good news on Synergy system
AtriCure gets 510(k) clearance for AtriClip device