San Diego Business Journal

Smith & Nephew Plc has held talks to buy San Diego-based NuVasive, a spine surgery company that analysts have called an acquisition target.

The Financial Times on Feb. 8 reported the potential $3 billion deal, citing people with direct knowledge of the discussions, who cautioned the talks could fall apart.

NuVasive shares in after-hours trading surged as much as 25 percent on the news before falling.

The company has a $2.54 billion market cap. It trains spine surgeons in advanced procedures, and makes an array of spine surgery products.

NuVasive has expanded its platform in recent years, but analysts this fall called the company’s execution uneven. They were optimistic about the arrival of Christopher Barry, who was named as CEO in October.

Prior CEO Gregory Lucier remained as company chairman.

“This CEO transition comes after what we believe to be a thorough and lengthy sale process that didn’t result in a buyer,” said J.P. Morgan analyst Robbie Marcus in October.

Smith & Nephew Plc is a British medical devices group.

NuVasive did not immediately respond to a request to comment.