By Lauren Hirsch and Liana B. Baker (Reuters)
Snap Inc, the secretive technology company that owns the popular messaging service Snapchat, is due to reveal its financials within a week as it moves toward its eagerly awaited initial public offering (IPO), sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.
The Venice, California-based company will publish the registration document it secretly filed with U.S regulators last autumn, containing a dossier of tightly held finances and its plans for operating as a public company.
The sources, who cautioned that Snapchat's plans may still change, asked not to be named because the information is private. A spokeswoman for Snap Inc declined to comment.
Snap Inc expects to go public as soon as March and could be valued at $20 billion to $25 billion, based on reports of its latest round of funding, which would make it the largest U.S. technology IPO since Facebook Inc's in 2012.
Snapchat has already confidentially filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the U.S. Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act. Under that law, companies with less than $1 billion in revenue can secretly file for an IPO, allowing them to quietly test investor appetite.
A company must make its initial IPO prospectus filing, officially known as an S-1, public at least 15 days before beginning its so-called "road show," in which it markets the IPO to investors.
The prospectus details a company's business background, finances and corporate governance for investors. Companies often update the filings several times before their IPOs, adding details such as the amount they expect to raise and the exchange they expect to list on.
Snapchat is expected to offer new investors "no-vote" shares as part of its IPO, the sources said. Such a structure will deny investors voting power over the company's corporate decisions, leaving more control in the hands of its board and co-founders, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy.
Keeping tight control is common in companies closely associated with their visionaries, who often prefer to innovate without being questioned by a broad array of investors.
Snapchat started in 2012 as a free mobile app that allows users to send photos that vanish within seconds. It has more than 100 million active users, about 60 percent of whom are aged 13 to 24, making it an attractive way for advertisers to reach millennials.
But investors worry that Snapchat's advertising sales, which began in October 2014, is the company's only significant revenue stream.
Recode first reported Snapchat's plan to publish its registration document on Friday.
(This version of the story corrects year when Snapchat began selling ads to October 2014, not last October in paragraph 11)
(Reporting by Lauren Hirsch in New York and Liana B. Baker in San Francisco)