Updated from 1:30 p.m. EDT

Considering the recalls, mergers and litigation that medical device makers have been through in recent months, some investors almost might be tempted to treat the upcoming earnings season as a holiday.

Take Guidant ( GDT). The company, which is about to report earnings for what probably will be the final time, has made its last year as a standalone company interesting.

Shareholders in the Indianapolis-based firm have had to endure a string of product recalls in recent months, including one a week before the end of the quarter . Now, it seems, they only have to hold on a little longer until the company's acquisition by Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) closes later this year.

Guidant's last fiscal quarter ended Sept. 30, and its results are just around the corner, along with the quarterly numbers from its top competitors.

Because this is likely the last time Guidant will have to go through this exercise, its stock probably doesn't stand to gain or lose much, regardless of what it reports for the third quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call are looking for earnings of 51 cents a share with sales of $887.9 million for the quarter. A year ago, profit from continuing operations was 50 cents a share on sales of $924.5 million.

The company's recalls had led to some speculation that J&J might try to change the terms of the $76-a-share acquisition, but that didn't happen. The stock now trades at around $71 from a closing low June 24 of $63.90 -- and an intraday low that day of $59.94 -- as a result of the recalls.

It's generally believed that Guidant's heart device business should mesh nicely with J&J's Cordis medical devices unit.

"Cardiac rhythm management (CRM) is a piece that will immediately fit well in JNJ's cardio franchise," analyst Bruce Cranna of Leerink Swann wrote in a recent research note. Cranna sees J&J bringing in $4.7 million in sales for its devices segment in the third quarter. The addition of Guidant will allow J&J, based in New Brunswick, N.J., to broaden its already vast health products empire.

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