Payments Startup Square Files Confidential IPO

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BN-CL604_square_P_20140421082308

BY ALISTAIR BARR and DOUGLAS MACMILLAN

Payments startup Square Inc. is aiming to end this year’s drought in prominent initial public offerings for tech companies.

The San Francisco maker of credit card-reading devices has filed to hold an IPO, a person familiar with the matter said. Square filed its prospectus under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, which permits companies with under $1 billion in annual revenue to file their IPO paperwork confidentially, the person said.

Square’s IPO could test the market for tech offerings, which has been quiet as more companies raise large rounds of private capital and their valuations have stretched into the billions.

So far in 2015, there have been 19 technology IPOs in the U.S., versus 41 by this time last year, according to Dealogic. No U.S. companies valued privately at $1 billion or higher by venture capitalists have gone public this year, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. Square was valued by investors at $6 billion last year.

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