Snap said to 'confidentially' file for IPO

Reuters reports the company behind the popular Snapchat app has filed its application to go public.

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Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
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Watch this: Snapchat may be worth $30 billion with IPO filing

The new move for Snap may be going public.

The Venice, California, startup has "filed confidentially" for an initial public offering of its shares, according to Reuters, which cited sources familiar with the situation.

The company behind the popular Snapchat app and Spectacles smart glasses has been rumored to be looking at going public for some time. CEO Evan Spiegel, for his part, hasn't been shy about his ambition to sell the company's shares to the public. Snap, whose Snapchat app has 150 million daily users, could use some of the IPO proceeds for acquisitions in the realm of virtual or augmented reality.

Companies that generate less than $1 billion in annual revenue can file confidentially for an IPO. Box and Twitter are two companies who followed that path.

Confidential IPOs allow "emerging growth" companies to file and refine IPO paperwork outside of the public eye. The process also requires less financial data than standard IPOs. It was introduced with the 2012 JOBS Act.

Snap declined to comment on the report.

Snap rose to prominence with the Snapchat mobile app that lets users post pictures and videos that disappear after a set period of time. It recently renamed itself Snap Inc., a clear sign that the five-year-old company was broadening its vision beyond its flagship app, which is popular among teens and young adults.

In September, the company unveiled Spectacles, video camera-equipped sunglasses that let people shoot videos to be uploaded to Snapchat. It's the company's first foray outside of the software world and into making physical devices. In fact, on its corporate website Snap refers to itself as "a camera company."

An IPO would be an important step in Los Angeles-based Snap's effort to compete with the Silicon Valley tech giants. The company already spurned Facebook's 2013 takeover bid, worth at least $3 billion. Since then, Facebook, flush with cash, has made a habit of cranking out knockoffs of Snapchat's most popular features.

CNET's Richard Nieva contributed to this report.

Updated at 1:20 p.m. PT with additional background.