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Biggest IPO since Facebook makes its debut

February 1, 2013: 10:52 AM ET

In the biggest IPO since Facebook, animal health company Zoetis generated strong demand from investors early Friday.

Shares of Zoetis (ZTS) surged as much as 22% in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company, which spun off from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (PFE), sold 86.1 million shares at $26 apiece late Thursday. The stock traded as high as $31.74 before easing slightly but still remained above the IPO price.

The offering raised $2.2 billion, making it the largest initial public offering since Facebook (FB) first sold shares to the public last May. The social network's highly-anticipated stock market debut was marred by technical difficulties and shares have struggled to recover.

Zoetis' offering appears to have gone off without a hitch.

Under the terms of the IPO, PfizerĀ  will retain about 80% ownership of the company and Zoetis will not receive any proceeds.

The offering was led by JPMorgan (JPM), BofA Merrill Lynch(BAC) and Morgan Stanley (MS).

Related: Buy, sell or hold? Most hotly debated stocks of 2012

Facebook's IPO raised concerns about the health and safety of the public markets and left many investors, large and small, embittered. But a number of companies have gone public in the months since and have received relatively warm welcomes.

In its investment prospectus, Zoetis said the animal health industry, which includes products for livestock and "companion animals," has grown to about $100 billion in annual sales.

The company is largely focused on medicine and vaccine for livestock, citing an increasing global demand for meat and poultry.

"Growth in the livestock medicines and vaccines sector is driven by human population growth and increasing standards of living, consequently increasing demand for improved nutrition, particularly animal protein, increasing natural resource constraints driving a need for enhanced productivity, and increased focus on food safety," said the company in its prospectus.

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Ben Rooney
Ben Rooney
Staff writer, CNNMoney

Ben Rooney is a staff writer for CNNMoney. He covers the European debt crisis and other international finance stories, in addition to writing about stocks, bonds, investing and other Wall Street-related news. Follow Ben on Twitter: @ben_rooney

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