Snapchat Said to Be Preparing for IPO as Soon as March

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Snapchat has begun preparing filings for an initial public offering and is aiming to sell shares in the first quarter of next year, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company, which recently changed its name to Snap Inc., could list as soon as March, depending on factors including equity market volatility, the health of the Chinese economy and the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, according to two people familiar with the matter. It's looking to file the necessary documents for a listing by the end of this year, one of the people said.

The social media site known for its disappearing texts and photos could fetch a market value of at least $25 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Thursday.

Since Snapchat will have less than $1 billion in revenue this year, it would be able to file its deal prospectus confidentially. The company hasn't formally hired banks to underwrite the IPO, two of the people said.

A representative for Snapchat declined to comment.

A 2017 Snapchat IPO would be one of the flashiest in more than a year. The last buzzy consumer-tech listing in the U.S. was in November 2015 when Match Group Inc., the online-dating powerhouse that owns Match.com, OKCupid and Tinder, went public at a valuation of $2.9 billion.

Even so, Snapchat would dwarf the matchmaking company if its public market value is anywhere near the $18 billion valuation given in its last private funding round, a person familiar with the matter said in May. At that value, it would also be the biggest tech company to go public in the U.S. since Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. listed in September 2014 at a $231 billion valuation.

Snapchat generated revenue of $59 million last year, and the company projects that number to rise more than fourfold this year, a person familiar with the matter said in May.

-- Bloomberg News