Pfizer Inc. agreed to buy Hospira Inc., the biggest provider of injectable drugs, in a transaction valued at about $17 billion, beefing up its roster of generic medicine ahead of a potential spinoff.

Pfizer will pay $90 a share in cash, the New York-based drugmaker said today in a statement, a 39 percent premium to Hospira’s closing price Wednesday. That represents about 21 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, compared with an average multiple of 14 for U.S. generic drugmakers, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

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