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Snapchat owner prices IPO, seeks more than $2 bn

Snapchat parent Snap Inc. is the biggest share listing in the tech sector since Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba in 2014 (AFP Photo/KEVORK DJANSEZIAN)

San Francisco (AFP) - Snapchat's corporate parent seeks to raise more than $2 billion for the fast-growing social media group in the tech sector's largest public offering in nearly three years, documents filed Thursday showed.

Outlining the financial details of its initial public offering (IPO), Snap Inc. said it expects net proceeds of some $2 billion.

It will offer 145 million new shares and sell 55 million from existing share owners, with an expected price range of $14 to $16, the documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed.

The offering -- confirmed with a public filing on February 2 -- would be largest in the sector since the Chinese online giant Alibaba's US market debut in 2014.

The listing would value Snap at between $19.5 billion and $22.2 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the deal.

The move is expected to be closely followed by Wall Street and the tech sector, with other highly valued peers such as Uber and Airbnb also studying IPOs.

Known for its disappearing messages, Snapchat has become hugely popular with young smartphone users.

The company has also recently been expanding its offerings to enable publishers to deliver content on the platform.

Some 158 million people use Snapchat daily, with more than 2.5 billion Snaps created every day, according to the filing.

Snapchat has partnerships with dozens of publishers and organizations, including one announced Thursday by the New York Times.

While some analysts say Snap has the potential to challenge Facebook, others say it could end up like Twitter, consistently losing money with its existence as an independent firm in peril.