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The following is a list of takeover targets that have seen strong earnings and sales growth over the past five years.

Of course, trading on takeover gossip is really just throwing darts, with similar odds. A better investment strategy? Focus on companies that are already profitable - so whether or not these takeover targets are acquired, they're likely to be solid additions to your portfolio.

To compile this list, we started with a universe of about 260 takeover targets identified by sources like CNBC, UBS, Merrill Lynch, Barron's, Morningstar, and Street Insider. We then narrowed down the list by only focusing on companies that have seen positive EPS and sales growth over the past 5 years. In addition, all companies mentioned have strong earnings growth projected over the next 5 years.

We're not going to go into detailed analysis for each company. The goal here is to give you a starting point for your own analysis.

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The list has been sorted by an average rank of EPS and sales growth.

1. Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM): Application Software Industry. Market cap of $15.13B. Business Insider identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 56.9% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 29.07% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 49.24% over the past 5 years. Short float at 9.01%, which implies a short ratio of 3.25 days. The stock has gained 98.75% over the last year.

2. Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG): Biotechnology Industry. Market cap of $28.72B. Morningstar identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 61.22% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 24.13% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 48.1% over the past 5 years. Short float at 2.32%, which implies a short ratio of 3.45 days. The stock has gained 23.29% over the last year.

3. Limelight Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:LLNW): Business Services Industry. Market cap of $688.52M. Street Insider identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 112.56% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 14.25% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 63.72% over the past 5 years. Short float at 2.56%, which implies a short ratio of 2.59 days. The stock has gained 92.31% over the last year.

4. Taleo Corp. (NASDAQ:TLEO): Application Software Industry. Market cap of $1.21B. Street Insider identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 57.11% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 23.% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 27.6% over the past 5 years. Short float at 5.11%, which implies a short ratio of 6.59 days. The stock has gained 40.22% over the last year.

5. Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX): Music & Video Stores Industry. Market cap of $8.96B. CNBC identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 42.83% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 26.56% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 27.25% over the past 5 years. Short float at 23.18%, which implies a short ratio of 2.02 days. The stock has gained 219% over the last year.

6. Research In Motion Limited (RIMM): Diversified Communication Services Industry. Market cap of $29.49B. Business Insider identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 65.62% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 13.4% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 61.75% over the past 5 years. Short float at 6.93%, which implies a short ratio of 1.76 days. The stock has lost -5.69% over the last year.

7. Athenahealth, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATHN): Business Services Industry. Market cap of $1.41B. Street Insider identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 19.76% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 37.13% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 37.09% over the past 5 years. Short float at 29.64%, which implies a short ratio of 16.89 days. The stock has gained 0.98% over the last year.

8. Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD): Biotechnology Industry. Market cap of $32.46B. R. Scott Raynovich identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 41.71% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 14.14% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 39.55% over the past 5 years. Short float at 2.37%, which implies a short ratio of 1.92 days. The stock has lost -9.11% over the last year.

9. Jinpan International Ltd. (NASDAQ:JST): Diversified Electronics Industry. Market cap of $235.44M. Louis Navellier, a NASDAQ.com community member, identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 45.04% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 15.% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 28.7% over the past 5 years. Short float at 0.34%, which implies a short ratio of 0.38 days. The stock has lost -6.46% over the last year.

10. Akamai Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:AKAM): Internet Information Providers Industry. Market cap of $9.58B. Street Insider identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 25.26% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 15.12% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 32.56% over the past 5 years. Short float at 4.47%, which implies a short ratio of 1.58 days. The stock has gained 132.76% over the last year.

11. Cal Dive International Inc (NYSE:DVR): Oil & Gas Equipment & Services Industry. Market cap of $464.46M. Wall Street Journal identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 45.36% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 12.% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 45.82% over the past 5 years. Short float at 4.86%, which implies a short ratio of 5.44 days. The stock has lost -35.89% over the last year.

12. GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME): Electronics Stores Industry. Market cap of $2.94B. Barrons identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 33.65% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 13.33% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 37.56% over the past 5 years. Short float at 21.19%, which implies a short ratio of 8.97 days. The stock has lost -18.47% over the last year.

13. InterDigital, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDCC): Wireless Communications Industry. Market cap of $1.52B. TheStreet.com's StockPickr Takeover Portfolio identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 34.71% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 15.% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 23.46% over the past 5 years. Short float at 15.64%, which implies a short ratio of 14.81 days. The stock has gained 63.83% over the last year.

14. Genzyme Corp. (GENZ): Biotechnology Industry. Market cap of $18.35B. Morningstar identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 33.07% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 24.39% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 15.45% over the past 5 years. Short float at 2.95%, which implies a short ratio of 1.77 days. The stock has gained 39.32% over the last year.

15. Joy Global, Inc. (JOYG): Farm & Construction Machinery Industry. Market cap of $7.32B. UBS identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 57.18% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 13.57% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 20.79% over the past 5 years. Short float at 4.19%, which implies a short ratio of 2.72 days. The stock has gained 34.4% over the last year.

16. Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE:EW): Medical Appliances & Equipment Industry. Market cap of $7.29B. Street Insider identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 169.57% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 21.07% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 7.24% over the past 5 years. Short float at 2.9%, which implies a short ratio of 3.14 days. The stock has gained 65.8% over the last year.

17. Exlservice Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXLS): Business Services Industry. Market cap of $557.42M. Street Insider identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 16.68% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 19.46% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 25.86% over the past 5 years. Short float at 2.35%, which implies a short ratio of 10.33 days. The stock has gained 37.29% over the last year.

18. ITT Educational Services Inc. (NYSE:ESI): Education & Training Services Industry. Market cap of $1.93B. John Dorfman, chairman of Thunderstorm Capital, identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 37.54% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 15.03% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 16.38% over the past 5 years. Short float at 22.5%, which implies a short ratio of 4.85 days. The stock has lost -34.86% over the last year.

19. Lubrizol Corporation (LZ): Specialty Chemicals Industry. Market cap of $7.11B. Merrill Lynch identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 35.71% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 26.7% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 9.87% over the past 5 years. Short float at 2.81%, which implies a short ratio of 3.31 days. The stock has gained 57.83% over the last year.

20. Hansen Natural Corporation (HANS): Soft Drinks Industry. Market cap of $4.52B. UBS identified the company as a takeover target. EPS has grown by 59.18% over the past 5 years, with EPS growth projected at 8.7% over the next 5 years. Sales have grown by 44.68% over the past 5 years. Short float at 1.79%, which implies a short ratio of 1.65 days. The stock has gained 39.98% over the last year.

Disclosure: No positions

Source: 20 Takeover Targets with a Track Record of Profitability