According to a news report from Reuters
, Pfizer has said it is planning to separate its animal health business into a standalone company.
Reuters says preparations are underway for a potential public offering of a minority stake in the new company, which would be called Zoetis.
Pfizer had previously announced it would either spin off or divest the business between this July and July 2013.
In a report published March 13, 2012, Pfizer CEO Ian Read said there were "clear attractions" for shareholders in a tax-free spin-off of the Animal Health unit.
Novartis AG and Bayer had reportedly been interested in making a bid for the animal business.
According to Reuters, Read will shrink the Pfizer group by divesting non-core businesses including veterinary medicine and infant nutrition. Bidders were asked to submit offers earlier this year for the nutrition business, and it is expected to be sold for around $10 billion.
Pfizer Animal Health is the largest animal health business, and could stand alone as an individual company. If Pfizer had decided to sell, it would have faced a high tax bill and substantial antitrust barriers, factors that may have contributed to its decision to spin off the unit instead.