LIVERMORE, Calif. (Jan. 11)—Health care goods manufacturers Sparta Surgical Corp. and Shepard Medical Products Inc. have signed a non-binding letter of intent to merge their operations under the Sparta name. Shepard will receive about 55 percent of the outstanding common stock and $500,000 in cash, according to Thomas F. Reimer, Sparta co-founder, chairman of the board and president. Reimer will be CEO and chairman of the board of the merged firm and, under a five-year agreement, Chris Wright, founder and CEO of Shepard, will serve as the company's president and chief operating officer. The remainder of Shepard's management team also will join Sparta. The companies expect the deal to close in three to four months.