Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) announced Thursday its plan to spin off its animal health business into a separate company named Zoetis. The news of the spin-off comes on the heels of Pfizer’s agreement to sell its infant nutrition business to Nestlé (PINK:NSRGY) for $11.9 billion.
The pharmaceutical giant said it’s preparing to file a registration statement in the U.S. for a potential IPO of a minority ownership stake in the new company.
“We are on track to create a standalone Animal Health company by our previously stated target of July 2013,” CEO Ian Read said in a press release. “Our focus continues to be on taking the actions that will generate the greatest after-tax value for our shareholders, with share repurchases remaining the case to beat in allocating cash proceeds from the separation.”
Pfizer says Zoetis will focus on the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of animal vaccines, genetic tests, medicines and other products aimed at treating and preventing disease in livestock and pets.
Revenues for the company’s animal health unit were approximately $4.2 billion in 2011. The unit employees more than 9,000 employees and markets its products in more than 120 countries.
Pfizer explained the name Zoetis (pronounced zo-EH-tis) “has its root in zo, which is familiar in commonly known words such as zoo and zoology.” It also derives from the word zoetic, which means “pertaining to life.”
“The name best captures the company’s focus on partnership with veterinarians, livestock producers and companion animal owners by providing innovative products and solutions that advance animal health and human well-being,” Pfizer Animal Health President Juan Ramón Alaix said in a press release. “We are excited about Pfizer’s decision to chart an independent future for the Animal Health business and about our new name, Zoetis.”