Pfizer readies documents for animal health IPO

Pfizer ($PFE) is prepping registration documents for an animal-health IPO. The company would offer a minority stake in the unit, dubbed Zoetis, as a step toward spinning off the unit completely. It's the latest update on Pfizer's efforts to refocus on its "innovative core."

Floating a minority stake could help build investor interest in Zoetis, supporting its eventual trading value as a standalone company. The company doesn't say how much of the unit it would offer to the market, but Financial Times sources have said the target is around 20%. The minority stake could raise $3 billion, while the entire unit could be worth up to $18 billion.

Pfizer plans to dole out details on the IPO plans with its second-quarter earnings announcement, so better numbers should be forthcoming then. The unit's 2011 revenues were about $4.2 billion. Now, Pfizer is on track to create a standalone vet unit by its goal date of July 2013, CEO Ian Read said.

For those head-scratching over the choice of name: Zoetis' root is zo--zoo and zoology, get it?--and it derives from the Greek word zoetic, which means "pertaining to life." It's designed to illustrate that improving animal health is part of the quest for improving human health, the company said.

- read the Pfizer release