The parent of Snapchat has quietly filed papers with the SEC to go public, seeking $4 billion from an offering that would value the company anywhere from $25 billion to $40 billion, according to multiple published reports. That would be much higher than the $17.8 billion valuation in its most recent round of fundraising.
Snap Inc’s plan would make it the priciest IPO in tech in at least three years — and, if successful, could drive a round of public offerings in the sector.
It had been anticipated: Bloomberg reported last month that Snap had hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to prepare for an IPO. The 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups Acts — also known as the JOBS Act — empowers companies that generate less than $1 billion a year in revenues to confidentially file for an IPO.
Snap is striking while it’s hot, especially among 18- to 24-year-olds.
“In investor meetings, we typically hear two schools of thought on Snapchat,” MoffettNathanson research’s Michael Nathanson said early this month. “The bulls believe Snapchat has been incredibly disruptive, particularly among younger demos, in taking engagement share from core Facebook. On the other hand, bears say that Snapchat’s core audience is incredibly fickle, spends much less money than Facebook’s audience, and isn’t guaranteed to remain on Snapchat five years from now.”
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.