At least one set of analysts sees Merck returning to the global pharma second tier (i.e., out of the top five) by 2014, and the ascendency of the European-makers, eclipsing even mighty Pfizer, in the same time-frame.
Of course, worldwide revenue (the measure used here) is not the same as per-share profitability (EPS), especially when coupled to dividended returns on investment (recall here that the bust-up paid a cash $12 per share dividend). Maybe I'll undertake that analysis around Christmas-time 2011. In any event, here is a bit of the above-linked report -- do go read it all:
. . . .Despite buying Schering-Plough for $41 billion in 2009, Merck is seen struggling to expand its drugs business over the next four years, with below average 1% annual sales growth predicted, letting faster growing Europeans GlaxoSmithKline and Roche climb ahead. . . .
If this analysis pans out (Sanofi goes to No. 1, Pfizer to No. 3, by 2013, and GSK and Roche leapfrog Merck as well, by 2016), Merck will be again returned to the No. 6 or No. 7 slot it held, prior to the 2008-2009 transactions in which the bust-up of Schering-Plough was engineered. Wild.
And proof that karma is shaped like a wheel -- it always comes back 'round.