The company is preparing an SEC filing that might enable it to sell stock on the open market in March, the paper says citing “several people familiar with the matter.” Snap’s most recent fund raising effort in May valued the company at $17.8 billion.
Snap might use the cash to buy properties, possibly in augmented or virtual reality, the Journal says.
CEO Evan Spiegel has wanted to go public for some time. He said at a conference last year that Snap has “a plan” to do so. He created Snapchat in 2011 as part of a product design course at Stanford University where he was a student.
The service enables mobile users to transmit images, video, and text that self-destruct in 10 seconds or less. Many users enjoy transforming images with what Snapchat calls its “lenses.”
Media companies including CNN, Vice, ESPN, and Food Network also have used Snapchat’s Discover channels to offer videos and headlines to fans.
The company has an average of about 60 million daily users in the U.S. and Canada, Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan said last month. That makes it twice as popular as Twitter, although still far behind Facebook with 175 million.
And it’s a hit with advertisers. Snapchat could generate $366.7 million in worldwide ad revenue this year, jumping 155.1% to $935.5 billion next year and $1.76 billion in 2018, eMarketer estimates. About 95% of the total currently comes from the U.S. but as it expands that could shrink to 75% in 2018.