Snap Inc., formerly known as Snapchat, is preparing an initial public offering (IPO) which could value the company at $25 billion or more. This would make it the highest public market debut in recent years.
The company is considering offering shares to the public as early as March 2017, according to the Wall Street Journal, but there is no surety that it will proceed within this time frame or that it will fetch the expected valuation. If everything goes according to the company’s plans, it will be the biggest IPO in the U.S. since Alibaba’s in 2014, which valued the Chinese company at $168 billion.
The company has seen dramatic revenue growth since it started running advertisements on its popular photo- and video-sharing app. Research firm eMarketer forecast the company would generate $366.69 million in 2016 — a figure expected to jump to a whopping $935.46 million in 2017.
Cathy Boyle, principal analyst at eMarketer, said: “Advertisers are attracted to Snapchat for its broad reach among young millennials and those in Generation Z, which are valuable demographic groups for many businesses.”
The company recently rebranded itself and released its first hardware offering called Spectacles. Spectacles are a pair of sunglasses with a camera embedded in the frame which can record 10-second video clips from the first-person point of view. A single tap from the finger starts the recording and subsequent taps record new clips. It uses a 115-degree angle lens and records circular video, similar to human vision.
Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel turned down a $3 billion takeover from Facebook in November 2013.
The company hired former Credit Suisse Group AG internet banking head Imran Khan in December 2014, who had previously served as a key advisor on the Alibaba IPO — the largest share sale in history at $25 billion. Snap Inc. has raised around $2.4 billion in private investments from Benchmark, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Fidelity Investments.