Snapchat parent valued at 'nosebleed' US$24b after IPO

Snap Inc raised US$3.4 billion in its IPO, pricing the shares above the marketed range.
Snap Inc raised US$3.4 billion in its IPO, pricing the shares above the marketed range.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - The parent company of Snapchat priced on Wednesday (March 1) its initial public offering at US$17 per share, valuing the company at nearly US$24 billion.

The maker of disappearing photo app Snapchat, based in Los Angeles, is the first technology or communications company to go public in the US in 2017. It's also the biggest social-media listing since Twitter, more than three years ago, with the daily compulsion of more than 150 million - mostly millennial - users.

Snap Inc raised US$3.4 billion in its IPO, pricing the shares above the marketed range.

Adding unexercised stock options and other convertibles, Snap will have a fully diluted value of about US$23.6 billion, the person said.

It's a "nosebleed" valuation, but "there's a nosebleed's worth of demand," said David Kirkpatrick, CEO of Techonomy Media.

"There is a huge amount of people who really just want to get in on the hot new thing, who see this as the first opportunity of its type in a number of years," Kirkpatrick said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. Still, "they've got some serious work to do to actually make a real business that makes profits."

Snap offered the shares for US$14 to US$16 each. Orders for the IPO were concentrated at about US$17 to US$18 a share, people familiar with the process said Tuesday. Demand outpaced the number of shares being offered by a multiple of 10, according to people familiar with the situation.

Given the interest, Snap could have priced the shares at US$19 each, one person said, but executives wanted to ensure that shares would make a decent gain in their debut.

The stock will start trading on Thursday, listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SNAP. The debut may benefit from good timing: US stocks advanced on Wednesday, setting records on the heaviest trading volume so far this year.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs led the offering. Goldman Sachs will be the stabilization agent, ensuring the first day of trading goes smoothly.