Johnson & Johnson (JNJ 0.03%) has increased earnings over time -- delivering both share price performance and dividend growth to investors. The company continues to grow through pipeline development and acquisitions. And these efforts are bearing fruit.

For instance, regulators approved Tecvayli for multiple myeloma last fall. And J&J bought heart-pump expert Abiomed a few months ago. These moves should keep growth going. But an upcoming transition may eventually give J&J an enormous boost. Should you buy J&J shares before that happens? Let's find out.

The most well-known business

So first, let's talk about the transition. J&J has long been known for its three businesses: consumer health, pharmaceuticals, and medtech. In fact, it's fair to say most people probably think of J&J as a consumer health player more than anything. That's because consumer health sells popular products most of us use, like Tylenol, Band-Aid bandages, and many well-known skincare brands.

Now, J&J is preparing to spin off consumer health into a separate business, to be called Kenvue, later in the year. You might ask: Why would J&J spin off the business we all know it for? There's actually a very good answer. Consumer health generally hasn't grown as fast as the company's other businesses.

For example, last year, on an adjusted operational basis, its sales rose less than 4%. That's compared to increases of more than 6% each for pharmaceuticals and medtech. And in the previous year, these two units posted double-digit sales increases while consumer health's gain again remained below 4%.

Consumer health also makes up a much smaller share of revenue than the other units. Pharmaceuticals revenue comprised 54% of the $24.7 billion in first-quarter worldwide revenue, Medtech represented 30% of overall revenue, and consumer health represented only 15%.

All of this means that with consumer health as a separate entity, J&J will report revenue from the two stronger businesses -- and direct its resources to growing them. That should translate into stronger growth for the company moving forward.

A huge catalyst?

Should you buy J&J before this transition? Well, the move itself may not be a huge catalyst. J&J has been planning this for a while. So completion of the spinoff probably won't result in a major share price increase. But I still think getting in on the shares now is a good idea.

And here's why. As mentioned above, the operation will help J&J report stronger growth over time. And that should help lift the shares -- not all at once in a day or two but gradually.

Today, you can pick up shares of J&J for 15 times forward earnings estimates. That looks very reasonable for a company with a long record of earnings growth -- and solid prospects. For example, J&J aims to increase pharmaceutical sales to $60 billion in 2025, up from $52 billion last year.

Meanwhile, if you buy the shares now, you can benefit from J&J's dividend. The company has made lifting its dividend a priority. It's among the elite list of Dividend Kings, meaning they've increased their dividends for at least the past 50 years. So while you wait for J&J shares to deliver, you can generate passive income thanks to its move to focus on its highest-growth businesses.

There will likely be plenty of opportunities to buy J&J down the road, of course. As I mentioned, this stock won't take off overnight. But at today's reasonable price and with the idea of benefiting from dividends, right now seems like the perfect time to add this stock to your portfolio.