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Snap Inc Preparing for IPO?

Tim Maytom

snapchat phone
Snap Inc, the newly renamed company behind Snapchat, is preparing for an initial public offering, having chosen Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group as the lead underwriters for the process.

According to Reuters, which cited a source familiar with the situation, the banks were notified earlier this week that they had been selected to carry out one of the most anticipated and potentially lucrative IPOs of recent years, which could come as early as March 2017.

Snapchat is expected to bring in over $1bn (£819m) in ad revenues next year and $1.76bn in 2018, according to recent eMarketer projections, as marketers continue to invest in its mobile-first video formats and brands vie for access to its crucial millennial and teen audience.

With so much buzz surrounding both the company and its IPO, the firm is expected to seek a valuation in the region of $25bn which, while far from a record-breaking initial offering, could net the company's backers a very large payday. The company raised $1.81bn in May at an estimated valuation of $20bn, and has seen considerable growth since then.

An IPO would also open up Snap's financial dealings to greater public scrutiny. The firm has traditionally been relatively reticent to share ad revenues and even user figures, although earlier this year it revealed to advertisers that its app now boasts over 100m daily active users, watching more than 10bn videos a day.

At the end of September, the firm revealed its first hardware product, a limited line of camera-equipped sunglasses that connected to Snapchat via Bluetooth. At the same time, the company renamed itself, from Snapchat to Snap Inc, to reflect its newly-diversified range of products.