Snapchat files for S$4.2b IPO: 3 other large Tech IPOs

A Snapchat sign hangs on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City on Jan 23, 2017.
A Snapchat sign hangs on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City on Jan 23, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Snap, the parent company of photo-sharing and messaging app Snapchat, filed for an initial public offering (IPO) of US$3 billion (S$4.2 billion) on Friday (Feb 3).

The move is aimed at raising as much as US$4 billion in the IPO for a market value of as much as US$25 billion, according to sources.

That amount would help co-founders Evan Spiegel, 26, and Bobby Murphy, 28, each own shares worth about US$5 billion, with each of them holding 20 per cent of Snap's shares.

They already hold the distinction of being the only self-made billionaires in the world who are under the age of 30.

Released in 2011 by Standford University students Spiegel and Murphy, Snapchat shot to popularity with its distinguishing feature of quickly disappearing messages, photos and videos.

It was a hit for youth worried about the permanency of sharing their photos on social media. It now has nearly 160 million daily users and revenues in 2016 grew by nearly 600 per cent.

But the firm has yet to make a profit.

Huge costs, including spending for marketing and research, dragged Snap to a net loss of US$515 million last year (2016), according to the company's IPO prospectus.

Here are three other technology companies which recorded the biggest IPOs:

1. Alibaba

A logo of Alibaba at its headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province on Oct 14, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

In 2014, the Chinese e-commerce giant garnered a grand total of US$25 billion for its IPO.

That amount surpassed the previous world record of US$22.1 billion, set by Agricultural Bank of China in 2010.

Alibaba is founder Jack Ma's third internet company and it began as a way for consumers to buy products directly from exporters.

The site's retail platforms netted a record 3 trillion yuan (S$614 billion ) of business transactions in the fiscal year through March 2016.

As of today, Mr Ma, 52, is valued at US$28.4 billion.

2. Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seen on stage during a town hall at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California on Sept 27, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

Arguably one of the largest social media companies in the world, Facebook stumbled at its IPO on May 18, 2012, which was beset by technical glitches on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, causing confusion among investors.

Still, the US$16 billion raised was considered one of the biggest IPOs in the history of technology, but Facebook's stock plunged the next year, from US$38 to below US$18.

However, it has since rebounded, with the company valued at around US$350 billion last year.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg, 32, has seen his personal fortune rise consistently every year, with an estimated worth of US$54.8 billion.

3. Twitter

The Twitter logo at the company's headquarters in San Francisco, California on Nov 4, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Twitter held its IPO on Nov 7, 2013, and the process went smoother than Facebook's, though it raised only US$1.82 billion.

It was still the largest IPO for a technology company since Facebook.

Twitter was launched in July 2006 by Jack Dorsey, 40, Noah Glass, age unknown, Biz Stone, 42, and Evan Williams, 44, who were colleagues at Odeo, a podcasting platform, in South Park, San Francisco.

However, the company has struggled to be profitable since its IPO, with a Time report last year noting that it had lost more than US$2 billion since it was first launched.

Sources: Bloomberg, Business Insider, CNBC, Forbes, Reuters, Time, BBC