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Jan 29 (Reuters) - Pinterest, the owner of the image search website known for the food and fashion photos that its users post, has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co to lead its initial public offering (IPO) later this year, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
Pinterest's IPO preparations come at a time when social media companies such as Facebook Inc Twitter Inc are under fire from politicians for concerns about privacy and political bias, challenges that Pinterest has avoided.
Pinterest could raise around $1.5 billion in the IPO, which is likely to come in the first six months of 2019, the sources said, requesting anonymity to discuss the planning arrangements.
Pinterest, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan declined to comment.
Pinterest, which was valued at $12 billion in its last fundraising round in 2017, is among a host of technology startups with popular consumer brands gearing up for multi-billion IPOs in 2019, including Uber, Lyft, AirBnB and Slack.
The San Francisco-based company has grown rapidly since its founding in 2008, boasting 250 million monthly active users last September.
Its revenue in 2018 was $700 million, 50 percent higher than the previous year, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Pinterest monetizes its website through advertisements, which it places among the "pins" that users put on the site.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is once again able to process and give feedback on IPO filings, having been unable to do so during the U.S. government shutdown at the start of the year. (Reporting by Joshua Franklin and Carl O'Donnell in New York; Editing by Sandra Maler)