Snapchat IPO – where does it fit in the grand scheme of US tech listings of recent years?

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The hotly-anticipated Snap IPO has finally been announced. Small on detail, but large on promise, some say the proposed listing on the NYSE would value the company at around $20-25bn.

That would place the camera app among one of the biggest tech IPOs in memory. Some argue this valuation is a tad lofty given the company’s financials. A $500m loss in 2016 is hardly the kind of consistent profits that were once required before a company could list on Wall Street. Today’s reliance on ebitda helps, although loss-making tech firms listing for megabucks is all too reminiscent of the dotcom bubble.

Remarkably, Snap said in its S-1 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it expects "to incur operating losses in the future, and may never achieve or maintain profitability".

Nevertheless, Snapchat is going public. But where exactly does Snap fit in the canon of tech IPOs? Here’s some of the largest ever IPOs to provide context.

Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), September 2014

Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba went public in the world’s largest ever flotation with an initial valuation of some $167.4bn. After losing a third of value by February 2016, the stock has rallied over the last 12 months to sit around 10% above its IPO price.

Facebook (FB:NASDAQ), May 2012

Mark Zuckerberg pocketed the cash but retained control of the social network giant with a giant IPO almost five years ago. The valuation of $104.2bn was contentious and lawsuits followed after a troubled start on the Nasdaq. A fairly quick drop in the price from $38 to $18 frayed nerves but for those who held onto the stock it’s been well worth it: by February 2017 Facebook was trading at around $130 a share.

Google (GOOG:NASDAQ), August 2004

Google – now Alphabet – listed in 2004, the fallout of the dotcom bubble bursting still vivid in the minds of many on Wall Street. The IPO valued it at $23bn with shares trading at about $54. By January 2017, nearly 13 years later, they were trading at $845.

Snap (SNAP:NYSE), 2017

Snap’s valuation – estimated at somewhere between $20bn and $25bn places near the top of the list of the biggest IPOs in history. The listing has added significance as it might make the likes of Uber and other so-called ‘unicorns’ come to the market.

Snap IPO market: stay tuned for details about a market so you can trade on the Snap IPO price. 
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