MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Messaging app Telegram has started preparations for an initial public offering (IPO), which can be launched within two years, Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper reported on Monday, citing sources.
According to the newspaper, Telegram has already begun pre-IPO diagnostics and is currently choosing the region and stock exchanges for placing the offer.
At the same time, the messenger is considering two more options — directly listing the shares or using a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) to enter the stock exchange. The specific date of listing will depend on the dynamics of the markets, the newspaper added.
During the initial placement, Telegram may be valued at $30 to $50 billion, with consultants proposing to tie the company’s valuation to the monthly number of active Telegram users and estimating one active user at $50. Telegram, which now has over 500 million active users, is forecast to have 800 million to 1 billion users by the time of share-placement in two years, the newspaper writes.
Telegram can choose one of the Asian exchange platforms to place the shares, as more than 40 percent of its users are in the region, with the number likely to reach 50 percent in two years. According to the sources, at this stage, Telegram is choosing between the New York NASDAQ and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Up to 25 percent of Telegram shares can be publicly traded. the minimum portion of the shares offered to public investors is 10 percent, while the maximum is a blocking stake, the newspaper added.
Earlier this year, the company raised over $1 billion in a bond offering for a handful of selected investors from Russia, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The bonds will be issued for five years, with an annual coupon rate of 7-8 percent. If Telegram launches an IPO by March 2024, the bondholders will be able to convert the debt into shares at a 10 percent discount of the placement price.