Pfizer Inc. plans an initial public offering of a minority stake in its animal health business to pay off debt.
The long-anticipated offering by the world's largest drugmaker will represent up to a 20 percent ownership stake in the animal health business, which it named Zoetis. A regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission does not detail the size of the offering or the anticipated share price.
The filing listed a proposed maximum aggregate offering price of $100 million, but it also stated that that figure was estimated solely to calculate the registration fee. A Pfizer spokeswoman said in an email that figure has no bearing on the actual size of the offering.
The New York company said it will exchange Class A common shares to debt holders, who will then sell the stock. Neither Zoetis nor Pfizer will receive proceeds. Pfizer then will keep a controlling interest in the company through Class B shares that it may give to its shareholders.
The spinoff's name, Zoetis, derives from the word zoetic, which means "pertaining to life." The business sells Convenia, an antibiotic for dogs and cats; Revolution, for protecting dogs and cats from fleas, heartworms and other parasites; and a cancer drug for dogs called Palladia.
It sells more than 300 product lines to livestock producers and veterinarians in about 70 countries. The business earned $245 million last year on $4.23 billion in revenue.
The spinoff is part of an ongoing makeover by Pfizer to divest nonpharmaceutical businesses and boost shareholder returns.
Last spring, Pfizer said it agreed to sell its infant nutrition business for $11.85 billion to Swiss food and drink giant Nestle SA. In the third quarter of 2011, Pfizer sold its Capsugel capsule-making business to private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Robert & Co. for $2.38 billion in cash.
Pfizer says the Zoetis offering may happen in the first half of 2013.
Shares of Pfizer fell 24 cents to $23.70 in afternoon trading.