Zoetis IPO prices at $26, largest US deal since Facebook

Pfizer Inc's animal health subsidiary Zoetis raised $2.2 billion in its public offering on Thursday, becoming the largest IPO from a US company since Facebook.

Madison, New Jersey-based Zoetis, which priced 86.1 million shares at $26, according to an underwriter, is now valued at around $13 billion. Shares of the company, which sells an array of products for livestock and companion animals, were expected to price in a range of $22 to $25.

Zoetis' over $2 billion public offering is the largest from a US company since Facebook raised $16 billion last May.

"This may usher in the first few tenative steps towards larger deals -- it may crack the door open just a little further," said Lee Simmons, IPO editor at Dun & Bradstreet. "But I'd call it a very slow snowball event because generally there is that continued pessimism in the markets about large buzzy deals."

US IPO proceeds, excluding Facebook, fell 35 percent in 2012, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The deal for Zoetis comes as its parent Pfizer, the world's biggest drugmaker, is divesting its non-pharmaceuticals units in order to focus on its core prescription drugs business.

Last April, Pfizer sold its infant nutrition business to Nestle SA for $11.9 billion.

Zoetis, with annual sales of about $4.2 billion and 9,000 employees worldwide, is the largest player in the $22 billion animal health industry. It sells vaccines, diagnostics, anti-infectives and other medicines.

About two thirds of its sales are from products and services for livestock, including dairy and beef cattle, pigs, poultry and sheep. Its pet products include Revolution, a heartworm and flea-control medicine for cats and dogs, and Palladia, a cancer drug for dogs.

The business began in 1952 as the Agriculture Division of Pfizer, and has steadily grown through in-house research and almost a dozen acquisitions, including the animal health units of rival drugmakers.

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