Rising social media star Snapchat 'eyes' IPO

(Lionel Bonaventure, AFP)
(Lionel Bonaventure, AFP)

San Francisco - Snapchat has chosen bankers for its initial public offering, which could happen as soon as March, according to people familiar with the matter.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group will lead the offering and were notified of their role early this week, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Deutsche Bank AG, Allen & Co., Barclays Plc and Credit Suisse Group AG will also be involved as joint book runners, the people said.

Snapchat, which recently changed its corporate name to  Snap, makes an application for sharing selfies and videos, watching news videos and chatting with friends. It has more than 150 million daily active users and aims to generate more than $350 million in advertising revenue this year, up from $59 million in 2015, people familiar with its plans have said. Because the company’s revenue is less than $1 billion, it qualifies to file IPO documents confidentially with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Snap’s Value

Snap, with a private market value of $18bn after its last funding round, will be the largest social media IPO since Twitter in November 2013. Los Angeles-based Snap plans to go public even as other large startups, such as Uber Technologies and Airbnb , take more time, raising private capital or borrowing money instead.

Morgan Stanley’s lead role comes after the bank arranged a credit facility for Snap in September. Snap’s sale is poised to be the biggest U.S. technology IPO that Morgan Stanley has served as left-lead adviser on since Facebook Inc. went public in 2012.

Mary Ritti, a spokeswoman for Snapchat, declined to comment, as did representatives for Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Barclays and Deutsche Bank. Representatives for Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and Allen & Co. didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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