ABT set about $2 billions for the JNJ case, but this cash will now be reversed for the company to use. My bet is ABT will start to buy back the shares aggrasively over the coming days and weeks!
Last time I checked, they have net debt just $12 billions. SInce they are making close to $7 billions of net profit this year, so total debt is less than 2 years of total net profit.
According to Warren Buffeet, a company is healthy if debt is less than 3 years of net profit. SO, I think their balance sheet is still pretty strong. SInce debt can be financed at very low rates now, and abt now carries dividened more than 4% and the company's EPS is growing at more than 10% a year, I feel the best way to use this $1.8 billions is to buy back their shares. Once the shares is above $55 or so, then they can focus on cuttign debt and buying medium sized busineses.