Snapchat's parent company, Snap Inc., is planning an initial public offering as soon as late March, according to The Wall Street Journal. The offering would reportedly value the company at $25 billion or more.
Snapchat, a mobile app that lets users post pictures and videos that disappear after a set period of time, recently renamed itself Snap Inc. The decision by CEO Evan Spiegel was a clear sign that the 5-year-old company is broadening its vision beyond its flagship app, which is popular among teens and young adults. Now that apparently means life as a public company.
Last month, 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 out of the software world and into making physical devices. In fact, on its corporate website Snap refers to itself as "a camera company."
Snap, whose Snapchat app has 150 million daily users, could use some of the IPO proceeds for acquisitions in the realm of virtual reality or augmented reality, according to the Journal.
The 26-year-old Spiegel has not been shy about his ambition to take the company public.
"We really need an IPO," he said at Recode's Code conference last year. "We have a plan for that."
A Snap spokesman said the company isn't commenting on "rumors or speculation about any financing plans."
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.
In August, Facebook-owned Instagram unveiled Instagram Stories, which let people post a string of videos and pictures that disappear after 24 hours. The feature is a dead-on clone of Snapchat Stories. On Thursday, Instagram said the feature already has 100 million daily viewers.
One of Snapchat's most tantalizing assets has always been its appeal to young people. The company says it reaches 41 percent of all 18- to 34-year-olds in the United States on any given day. But it's still unclear if Snapchat is profitable.
First published October 6, 12:13 p.m. PT.
Update, 1:16 p.m.: Adds information throughout.