BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BLT) made headlines this past summer with the announcement that it plans to hone its focus on iron ore, copper, coal and petroleum by spinning off a number of its other businesses. Now Brazil's Vale (NYSE:VALE) looks to be heading in a similar direction. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the miner is considering selling a 30- to 40-percent stake in its base metals division via an initial public offering on the TSX this coming summer. The division, which some analysts have valued at between $28 and $35 billion, is mainly made up of nickel assets that the company gained through the purchase of Inco back in 2006. Why sell? Put simply, Vale is having a tough time this year. As Bloomberg states, it suffered from "strikes in Canada, plant faults in Brazil and an acid spill in New Caledonia" during 2014, and of course the poor iron ore price hasn't helped. Vale is the world's largest producer of the metal, and it's seen steep losses this year, particularly in recent days. All in all, those factors have pushed the company's share price down 43.77 percent year-to-date. Thus, unlike BHP, which as mentioned is pursuing a spin off to narrow its focus, it seems Vale's potential divestment was born of a need for cash. As Brenton Saunders of BT Investment Management told The Sydney Morning Herald, "(BHP's) is more a portfolio consideration, whereas I suspect strongly the Vale one is a capital consideration. They want to be able to raise money and they might use this as a mechanism to raise money to be able to finish developing their iron ore expansion, so the motivations are very different, I suspect." Similarly, according to The Wall Street Journal, some analysts believe that to finish its major projects Vale will have to "choose between reducing its dividends and taking on new debt" — unless of course it can raise money another way.