NEW YORK--Pfizer is reviewing comms support for the potential spin-off of its animal health business, shortly after launching an overall holding company review.

The company revealed last year that it is expecting to spin-off of its animal health unit, which is worth an estimated $4bn. To accompany this process, Pfizer has issued a global RFP to a number of holding companies, as it prepares the ground for this outcome.

"In the event Animal Health becomes a separate business from Pfizer, we are currently exploring a range of new branding assets that would be needed to support a separate identity," a Pfizer spokesperson told the Holmes Report. "The scope of this review is global and will take place over the course of the next few weeks."

The RFP follows reports last week that Pfizer has also issued an RFI for the entire company, excluding its animal health and nutrition units, the latter of which is expected to be sold outright. That document has, added the spokesperson, been circulated to "holding companies and key independent agencies", as part of a periodic review of its marketing efforts.

The two reviews are separate. Since taking charge of the company in late 2010, Pfizer CEO Ian Read is attempting to divest the company of non-core businesses, because of a major revenue slump caused by cholesterol blockbuster drug Lipitor coming off patent.

The animal health RFP is understood to include a significant public relations component, incorporating financial communications and change management. Pfizer currently works with a number of PR firms including, in particular, Edelman, Chandler Chicco, Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum and Weber Shandwick.

Pfizer's animal health business develops products for livestock and pets, and operates in more than 60 countries.