Pfizer spin off will be a big player among a relatively small number of public companies focusing on animal heatlh

The separation of Pfizer from its animal health business, Zoetis, has begun. Pfizer has priced its initial public offering (IPO) of 86 million shares at $26 per share, for a total of $2.2 billion (£1.4 billion). This represents 17% of the company – Pfizer will retain an 83% stake – meaning the IPO values the company as a whole at $13 billion.

The business has 9500 employees and markets products in 120 different countries, making sales of about $4.2 billion in 2011.

Pfizer announced it was planning to spin off the business in June 2012. Since Ian Read took over as chief executive in December 2010, the company has made several moves to focus the company on its core business of pharmaceuticals. In July 2011, for example, Pfizer sold its infant nutrition business to Nestlé for $12 billion.