Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) approaches its fourth-quarter financial report on Tuesday with many of the same financial pros and cons from recent quarters -- plus, of course, one giant $23.9 billion headline. The headline is Guidant ( GDT), which remains such a good takeover idea to Wall Street that J&J's stock still is higher than the day before the deal was announced. Tuesday's report may not shed much more light on the impact of the deal, which J&J executives have said they hope to complete by July 1. One key issue is how the Federal Trade Commission will respond to potential antitrust issues, "which we believe is likely to represent an overhang on J&J shares prior to the close" of the deal, said Sara Michelmore, of S.G. Cowen, in a recent report to clients. On Jan. 19, analysts got a hint about how J&J might help pay for the deal when the company said it would repatriate about $11 billion from foreign subsidiaries for domestic use to benefit from a one-time tax holiday. Although J&J didn't say how it would use the money, mergers and acquisitions are one of the Treasury Department-endorsed uses of these repatriated funds. Thanks to a law signed by President Bush in October, companies have a one-year window to repatriate earnings of foreign subsidiaries at a 5.25% tax rate instead of a 35% rate. Those repatriated earnings, for which J&J will take a roughly $800 million tax charge in the fourth quarter, would certainly help cover the 40%-cash portion of the cash-and-stock purchase of Guidant. The deal, which prompted Standard & Poor's to keep its AAA credit rating on J&J, hasn't discouraged analysts' predictions for the fourth quarter, the 2004 fiscal year or the 2005 fiscal year. The analysts polled by Thomson First Call are sticking with their consensus estimates of a 64-cent EPS for the fourth quarter and a fiscal-2004 EPS of $3.07. For fiscal 2005, the consensus EPS is up to $3.35. When J&J announced in mid-December that it was buying Guidant, the company's CFO, Robert J. Darretta, said he was comfortable with the consensus view of $3.34 a share for 2005. This figure excluded noncash charges, which will be about $9 billion and which will be amortized over 12 years.