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Snap, the parent of disappearing image-messaging platform Snapchat, has for the first time made public its filing for an initial public offering, which is expected to be one of the biggest tech IPOs in recent years.

The filing with US securities regulators said the company expects to raise $3bn. The figure is often used as a placeholder that is updated down the line.

Snap’s move to hit the public markets represents the first such decision by the latest generation of “mega unicorns”, tech groups that have secured private valuations of tens of billions of dollars.

The company is aiming for a valuation of $20bn – $25bn and is looking to float its shares in March, according to people familiar with the matter. At that level, Snap would top Twitter’s IPO market value of $18bn in 2013.

Many of the largest unicorns – a group that includes Uber and Airbnb – have avoided public markets thanks to ample availability of private investor funding, low borrowing rates and the mixed performance by companies that have taken the plunge.

However, analysts reckon that with companies growing larger, there may be more pressures on management to let employees cash-out on their shares. At the same time, interest rates are forecast to begin rising at a quicker clip, and equities markets have stabilised substantially after a rocky run at the start of 2016.

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