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Mobile payment startup Square reportedly files to go public

By Shelly Banjo

The battle to control the way we pay for things just got a little more serious.

Square, the mobile payments company started by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey in 2009, has confidentially filed to go public, according to a Bloomberg report Friday. The company declined to comment.

The payment company’s IPO has long been rumored. Two years ago, when it hired former Goldman Sachs executive Sarah Friar as its CFO, whispers began to surface that it was positioning itself for a debut on public markets. Last year, it held discussions with banks to explore an IPO, and, last month, an unnamed source told Forbes that Square “plans to do it this year.”

Companies with less than $1 billion in revenue can file for an IPO privately with the US Securities and Exchange Commission under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act.

Valued at more than $6 billion, Square is among seven so-called Unicorns in the hot and increasingly crowded payment startup sphere. With $717 million in funding since 2010, it has out-raised the rest of its competitors—even as it’s struggled to turn a profit. 

The company, named after the small square gadgets merchants plug into smartphones to accept credit cards, processed $30 billion in payments last year and is moving into new lines of business. In May, Square expanded its lending program for small businesses.

Square raised $25 million from Victory Park Capital to fund a new lending business that provides loans to businesses based on their transaction history.

Going public would help it raise even more cash to expand into new areas of business and take on competitors like PayPal and Stripe.

Correction (6:41pm ET): An earlier version of this story said that Square raised $25 million from Victory Park Capital in May to fund its lending program. Victory Park increased its investment in the program in May, but not by $25 million. (Square won’t say what the amount was.) $25 million was how much Square advanced to businesses in April 2015.