Pfizer prepares IPO for its animal healthcare unit

The world's largest drugmaker, Pfizer Inc, yesterday said that it is preparing to float part of its animal healthcare unit, as it plans to focus on expanding its low-cost pharmaceuticals business.

The expected move comes six weeks after the New York-based pharmaceuticals giant sold its nutrition business to Swiss food giant Nestle S A for about $11.85 billion. (See: Nestlé to acquire Pfizer's nutrition business for $11.85 billion)

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

The New York-based pharmaceutical giant will offer a minority stake the new animal health company to be called Zoetis. Pfizer said the name Zoetis derives from zoetic, meaning "pertaining to life," and has its root in zo, which is familiar in commonly known words such as zoo and zoology. 

Pfizer said that it is preparing to file a registration statement in the US for a potential initial public offering (IPO) of a minority ownership stake in Zoetis and would provide details of the proposed transaction in the coming months, when it reported its second quarter earnings.

Pfizer did not provide any information what percentage stake it plans to sell in the IPO, or how much it expects to receive in proceeds, but the Financial Times in February reported that the company is exploring plans to raise $3 billion by floating up to 19.9 per cent of its animal healthcare shares. (See: Pfizer mulls $3 billion partial IPO for animal healthcare unit: report)