Snapchat readies for $25 billion IPO for early 2017, report says

The company, which recently changed its name to Snap, could have the biggest IPO since Alibaba.

The company behind Snapchat could go public as early as March 2017 in an initial public offering that could value it at more than $25 billion, a report Thursday said.

Although the biggest tech companies have lately been testing how large they can grow their valuations privately before braving the public markets, Snap is expected to buck that trend, the Wall Street Journal said. Last month, the company was reported as having been talking to investment banks about getting the IPO process going.

The Los Angeles firm has told investors that it expects to hit revenues as high as $350 million this year and as much as $1 billion in 2017, the WSJ said.

PHOTOS: Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr

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Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel
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Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel
Miranda Kerr and her Snapchat CEO boyfriend, Evan Spiegel arrive at the state dinner in honor of President of Finland and the Prime Ministers of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland at the White House in Washington on May 13, 2016. / AFP / Olivier Douliery (Photo credit should read OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 14: Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel arrives at the 2016 Pre-GRAMMY Gala And Salute to Industry Icons Honoring Irving Azoff at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 14, 2016 in Beverly Hills City. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 14: Co-founder of Snapchat Evan Spiegel (L) and model Miranda Kerr attend the 2016 Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute to Industry Icons honoring Irving Azoff at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 14, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 03: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Co-founder and CEO of Snapchat Evan Spiegel and model Miranda Kerr attend the Berggruen Institute: 5 Year Anniversary Celebration at The Beverly Wilshire on May 3, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Berggruen Institute)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Entrepreneur Evan Spiegel (L) and Model Miranda Kerr attend the Republic Records Grammy Celebration presented by Chromecast Audio at Hyde Sunset Kitchen & Cocktail on February 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for Republic Records)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Entrepreneur Evan Spiegel and model Miranda Kerr attend Warner Music Group's annual Grammy celebration at Milk Studios Los Angeles on February 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 12: Miranda Kerr and billionaire boyfriend Evan Spiegel are seen out and about leaving LAX on August 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by HEV/BuzzFoto via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 12: Miranda Kerr and billionaire boyfriend Evan Spiegel are seen out and about leaving LAX on August 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by HEV/BuzzFoto via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 14: Co-founder and CEO of Snapchat Evan Spiegel (L) and model Miranda Kerr attend the 2016 Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute to Industry Icons honoring Irving Azoff at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 14, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 12: Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel are seen at LAX. on August 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
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Snap is currently valued at $17.8 billion based on the rapid growth of the Snapchat social messaging app, which now counts more than 150 million daily active users. That's not its only product anymore. Two weeks ago the company announced Spectacles, its first hardware device, which is a $129.99 pair of glasses that can shoot snippets of video. That device is expected to go on sale soon.

Over the past two years, there have been relatively few major tech IPOs, and many of the companies that have gone public in recent times have failed to gain much traction with Wall Street shareholders. Should Snap go public, it could be the biggest IPO since Chinese tech giant Alibaba went public in 2014.

Check out the most valuable brands in the world:

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Interbrand's 2016 Best Global Brands
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Interbrand's 2016 Best Global Brands
10. General Electric 
9. Mercedes
8. Amazon
7. Samsung
6. IBM
5. Toyota
4. Toyota
4. Microsoft
3. Coca-Cola
2. Google
1. Apple
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Snap is part of an exclusive cluster of highly-valued venture-backed companies that are staying private longer. The cohort includes the likes of Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.

Ernst & Young has predicted 2017 will be a year when the IPO market rebounds following a quiet 2016. This year saw only 31 initial public offerings between January and May, compared to 69 during the same period in 2015 and 115 in 2014, according to Barron's.

"We're building a really robust pipeline next year, is what's happening," Ernst & Young Americas IPO markets leader Jackie Kelley told Inc. in June, clarifying that "we" referred to U.S. markets. She said she expected IPO activity in 2017 to reach 2014 levels.

-with contributions from Tess Townsend

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