Pfizer mulls $3 billion partial IPO for animal healthcare unit: report

Pfizer Inc, the world's largest drugmaker, is exploring plans to raise $3 billion by floating part of its animal healthcare unit, the Financial Times yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the developments.

The New York-based pharmaceutical giant, whose animal healthcare unit is the largest in the world, is talking to bankers on an initial public offer of up to 19.9 per cent of its animal healthcare shares, in what is known as an equity carve-out or partial spinoff, said the paper.

Pfizer is still evaluating all options for the unit and may announce a decision in the coming months.

In July 2011, the company said that it was exploring alternatives, including a possible sale of its animal health and nutrition businesses, in the next two years in order to focus on expanding its low-cost pharmaceuticals unit. (See: Pfizer plans to sell animal health and nutrition businesses)

Pfizer had hired Morgan Stanley and Centerview Partners to evaluate the businesses and complete any transactions in 12 to 24 months.

Pfizer's options include, among others, a full or partial separation through a spin-off, sale or other alternatives. Given the separate and distinct nature of the animal health and nutrition businesses, the company said that it might pursue a different strategic alternative for each business.

Early this month, Nestle SA, the world's largest food company, and French dairy major Groupe Danone (BN) SA have emerged as prime contenders to buy Pfizer's $10 billion infant nutrition business, while Germany's Bayer has shown interest for its animal healthcare unit.