Snapchat working on $25bn IPO
Snapchat's parent company is working on a stock market listing that could value the virtual messaging company at up to $25bn.
The four-year old Californian business has soared in popularity with celebrities for allowing users to send disappearing messages from their smart phones.
The company has claimed that it is more popular with millennials than the average TV programme.
Snap Inc, Snapchat's parent, is reportedly starting to prepare for an initial public offering with a view to selling shares as soon as March, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
If a flotation was successful, it would be the biggest US listing since when Chinese online giant Alibaba debuted with a $168m valuation.
A $25bn valuation for Snap would also a significant premium to a recent $17.8bn funding round in May.
A Snapchat spokesman said: "We aren't commenting on rumors or speculation about any financing plans."
The company was co-founded by Evan Spiegel, who has been valued at $2.1bn by Forbes, and recently got engaged to model Miranda Kerr.
Snapchat, which has 150 million users, has expanded its features to include instant messaging, the ability to send pictures taken earlier, and a news section. It is also working on its first hardware product - augmented reality glasses that could be similar to Google Glass.
It is the latest innovation by the company which in July launched a new section called Memories.
The section was designed to automatically store pictures, videos and stories which users could revisit and re-edit later.
One of Snapchat's most famous features is a "face swap", which allows users to transpose faces and objects, as used by Lewis Hamilton in a Formula One press conference on Thursday.