M&A status: Repeatedly urged. Last winter, shareholder Oracle Investment Management all but begged Thoratec ($THOR) to find itself a buyer, and analysts have tacked the company to their "likely to be bought" boards for the past few years. Since then, though, Thoratec has kept its head down and continued to expand its market share in left ventricular assist devices. Revenue from the company's HeartMate line of LVADs has steadily grown, quarter after quarter, jumping 9% to $106.2 million in Q3. Thoratec's presence in the cardiology world would appear to be deep-seated, too, as the company endured a Class I recall for one generation of HeartMate without suffering much of a revenue hit.

Likely acquirers: As Oracle's Larry Feinberg once said, the company would be an "undeniable" fit for Medtronic ($MDT) or St. Jude Medical ($STJ). Like pretty much every other large devicemaker, those two have been dealing with declining revenues in heart devices, but if they want Thoratec's LVAD riches, they'll have to pony up: Bloomberg estimates the company's market value at about $1.9 billion.

For more:
Thoratec takes Q2 loss but expands full-year projection
Thoratec earnings soar, fueled by HeartMate II LVAD sales surge
Oracle urges Thoratec to find buyer