Snapchat 'is planning a $25 billion IPO'

Messaging app's parent company may float stock in early 2017

Popular messaging service Snapchat's parent company, Snap, is working on an IPO that could bring its value up to $25 billion, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

These sources say that Snap, which was recently re-named by CEO Evan Spiegler, aims to float its stock before March 2017.

Should the California-based company, achieve the higher valuation, it would become the largest on a US stock exchange since 2014.

Snapchat rapidly increased in popularity thanks to its unique and innovative feature that allows users to send expiring picture messages that can only be re-played once and are immediately deleted afterwards, and was valued at $17.8 billion in May.

The messaging app also has a feature called Stories, through which users can create collections of pictures that can only be viewed by their friends for 24 hours. Instagram has recently introduced a similar feature and Facebook is also running a trial of a similar tool for its Messenger app in Poland.

The Snapchat app is also widely used by marketers to promote their products to consumers.

In 2013, Snapchat rejected a $3 billion takeover offer from Facebook. If it became a public company worth $25 billion on the stock market, rejecting the social media giant's offer could prove to have been a wise choice.

The company's income is expected to range between $250 million and $350 million this year and at least $1 billion in 2017. This value is more than four times greater than the $60 million income Snapchat reported in 2015.

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