The world's largest pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc.(NYSE:PFE) plans to raise $100 million via public offering of shares in its animal health unit, to pay down debt.
The company said in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it would exchange Class A common shares to debt holders who would then sell the stock. The shares being offered represent the company's 20 percent stakeholding in the unit which is called Zoetis.
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The proceeds of the share sale will not go Zoetis or Pfizer, which will retain its controlling interest in the company through class B shares. The offering is expected to be done in the first half of 2013, it said in the filing.
Pfizer has been restructuring its businesses for some time now to streamlines its structure and to enhance shareholder value. Hiving off or selling non-pharma businesses is part of this strategy. The company had said in June that it planned to separate its animal health unit into a standalone company as it focused more closely on its core pharmaceuticals business
Last spring, Pfizer 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.
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Zoetis sells products such as Convenia, an antibiotic for dogs and cats, an anti-flea product called Revolution and a canine cancer drug called Palladia. It posted $4.2 billion in revenue last year and has more than 9,000 employees
Shares in Pfizer were trading down 0.8 percent at $23.75 each.