Private Messaging App Telegram Ready to Go Public In Next Two Years, Valuation Between $30-$50B
Instant messaging app Telegram is reportedly planning to go public.
According to Vedomosti, a Russian business newspaper that cited multiple sources familiar with the matter, Telegram plans to launch an Initial Public Offering (IPO) within the next two years with a possible valuation in the region of $30 to 50 billion.
The details of the intended IPO are yet to be made public or finalized, according to Vedomosti. Amongst the possible scenarios for Telegram's listing are market dynamics, a traditional IPO model, direct listing, or a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
While details of the IPO are yet to be made known, Telegram is reportedly conducting pre-IPO analysis and is looking to decide on the most appropriate region for going public.
Telegram's Historic User Growth
Telegram has had an exponential year after an additional 25 million new users were onboarded on its platform within three days. According to a report, these new users were spread out across all parts of the world, with 38% from Asia, the largest of the entire figure. Pavel Durov, CEO of Telegram, stated,
“We've had surges of downloads before, throughout our 7-year history of protecting user privacy. But this time is different.”
At the time, WhatsApp threatened users that they were now required to share their data with Facebook or stop using the service. This prompted concerns from users, such that they opted for Telegram instead.
Why Telegram May Snub US For China
Although Vedomosti's sources said a preferable choice for Telegram's shareholders would be a direct listing on either Nasdaq or Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the latter is more likely the destination due to the platform's Asia-centric user base.
At the moment, 40% of Telegram's users are based in Asia. Due to a projection that the number would reach 50% in two years, and with the total number of users expected to have grown to 1 billion, Hong Kong may be the messaging app's destination.
Another reason why the US may not be a preferred place for the company to be listed is its long-running confrontation with the country's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The company had to abandon its Telegram Open Network (TON), an ambitious project that raised $1.7 billion from investors in a private Initial Coin Offering (ICO), which the SEC labeled illegal and subsequently folded up.
With TON, Telegram aimed to integrate a decentralized economy, thereby enabling its users to move money around outside of governments' purview. But the project was dead on arrival as the SEC forced Telegram to shut it down.