Snap Inc, the owner of ephemeral messaging app Snapchat, has valued itself between $19.5 billion and $22.2 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter, as it gears up for one of the most hotly-anticipated initial public offerings (IPO) of the year.
The valuation prices Snap at $14 to $16 per share, meaning it would be valued at the low end of the $20 billion to $25 billion range it had previously sought.
Snap will set a final price based on its roadshow where it will meet with potential investors and receive feedback, the WSJ reported. A spokesperson for Snap did not respond when contacted by CNBC.
The U.S. start-up's IPO is being closely watched as it could set the tone for other technology offerings in 2017. Last year saw a dearth of U.S. listings, but experts are predicting that the market could thaw this year.
Snap makes its money through advertising and will need to convince potential investors that its app is not just a fad. In 2016, the company generated revenue of $404.5 million, a sixfold increase on the $58.7 million made in 2015, according to a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. However, net losses widened to $514.6 million last year, from $372.9 million the year before.
At the end of 2016, Snap had 158 million daily active users, up 48 percent from the same time the year before. But in the fourth quarter of 2016, year-on-year growth of users fell, which Snap put down to increased competition as well as product performance issues stemming from updates to its app.
Snap has seen rising competition from the likes of Facebook, which has released its own Snapchat-like product called "Stories", as well as Instagram Stories, another service akin to the disappearing messaging app.
Shares of Snap could be priced as soon as March 1 and begin trading the following day on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "SNAP", the WSJ reported.
Read the full Wall Street Journal report here.