Eddy Elfenbein submits: Losing Guidant Corp. to Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) was one of the best things that could have happened to Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ). That merger had troubled written all over it. It's usually a bad sign when the company you're thinking of buying sues you. Yep, you want to avoid that.
The wait was worth it. On Monday we learned that JNJ is buying Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) consumer health division (with well known brand-names like Listerine, Sudafed, and Nicorette). This is a much better move for JNJ. The company has been sitting on a mountain of cash (nearly $6 a share).
At the end of last year, I wondered if a good paired trade would be to go long Merck (NYSE:MRK) and short Pfizer. It was--at least so far. The troubles for Pfizer are still pretty bad. They needed this deal.
PFE-MRK 1-yr comparison chart: