THE WALL STREET
Zoetis Unveils $500 Million Stock Buyback Plan
Maker Projects Lower-Than-Expected Results for Next Year
Updated Nov. 18, 2014
Inc. said its board has
approved a $500 million share-buyback program, stepping up its efforts
to avoid a potential takeover battle driven by activist investors.
The announcement comes a day after the animal-health products maker
unveiled plans to buy
Abbott Laboratories ’s
animal-health business for $255 million and about a week after
William Ackman disclosed a stake
of about $2 billion in Zoetis.
In response to that move, Zoetis adopted a so-called poison pill plan,
which is used to ward off potential takeovers, although the company
didn’t mention Mr. Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management LP.
The company’s shares, which have risen 17% so far this month, were off
about 1% in midday trading as the company hosted its investor day in
At that meeting, the company projected slightly lower-than-expected
results for next year. It guided for earnings, excluding items, of
$1.61 to $1.68 a share on revenue of $4.85 billion to $4.95 billion,
versus the respective estimates of $1.71 a share and $4.96 billion
from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Pfizer Inc. spinoff that makes
vaccines and medicine for household pets and livestock--generated $4.6
billion in sales last year, making it the biggest player in the
The deal with Abbott would expand Zoetis’s diagnostics business as
more people are having their pets treated for diseases such as
diabetes and cancer.
The Wall Street Journal previously reported Mr. Ackman might push
Zoetis to sell itself to a larger company, such as
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International
Inc. The report also said Mr. Ackman was working with Sachem Head
Capital Management LP, another activist firm.
Michael Calia at