Snapchat parent Snap to raise up to $3bn in IPO

(iStock)
(iStock)

San Francisco - The parent of the fast-growing social network Snapchat filed public documents for a share offering on Thursday, seeking to raise up to $3bn.

California-based Snap Inc., which had earlier filed confidential documents for an initial public offering, was expected to be one of the biggest tech company market debuts in recent years with a valuation likely to top $20bn.

In documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Snap said it took in $404m in revenue last year but lost $515m.

Snapchat, known for its disappearing messages, has become hugely popular with young smartphone users. But the company has recently been expanding its offerings to allow publishers to deliver content through the platform.

According to the filing, 158 million people use Snapchat daily, and over 2.5 billion Snaps are created every day.

Snapchat has partnerships with dozens of publishers and organizations, including one announced on Thursday by the New York Times.

The company has also introduced a product called Spectacles, or sunglasses that can be used to make Snaps.

Snapchat said it expects to derive most of its revenue from advertising, where it will compete against rivals such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.

The company noted that since its inception it has been losing money and "may not achieve or maintain profitability."

Snapchat reportedly spurned a multibillion-dollar offer from Facebook, preferring to remain independent.

Snap's offering on the New York Stock Exchange is the largest for a technology company in the US since Chinese-based Alibaba listed in 2014.

The documents did not provide share pricing and noted that the amount to be raised could be revised before the market debut, which is likely to take place in March.

While some analysts say Snap has the potential to challenge Facebook, others say it could end up like Twitter, which consistently lost money and whose existence as an independent firm is in peril.

The IPO will be structured with different share classes, allowing co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy to control 88.6% of the voting rights.

Earlier Thursday, the New York Times said it would create a daily Edition for Snapchatters in the US, Canada and Australia based on its Morning Briefing, or summary of major news.

This will appear on Discover, the section of the Snapchat app where users can find content from media companies.

The Times cited data from Nielsen saying that Snapchat each day reaches 41% of all 18-to 34-year-olds in the United States, compared to just 6% for US network television.

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