The Snapchat IPO Just Got a Lot Cheaper

Posted February 17, 2017

The valuation is considerably lower than the $20 billion to $25 billion Snap had reportedly been seeking, likely indicating concerns among investors about the company's slowing user growth.

The share prices, which were disclosed in a securities filing early Thursday, are non-binding. A final price will be set in the coming weeks after Snap meets with investors.

The industry has been keeping a close eye on Snap Inc since the upstart published details of its forthcoming IPO back in January in the form of an S1-filing which promised growth but not profit in the short-term.

That means all of Spiegel's and Murphy's shares are about to be worth some serious money on the New York Stock Exchange. At the mid-point of that range, those investors would be underwater. "They want to avoid setting a range and then price below the range", said Kathleen Smith, principal at Renaissance Capital, which manages IPO-focused exchange traded funds.

Those numbers could still go up if Snap finds a healthy appetite for its stock offering.

Snap, which only launched its disappearing messages app in 2012 and generates most of its revenues from advertising, has since diversified into a camera company and started selling $130 video-recording glasses that shoot first-person footage.

Snap was founded in 2011 and booked $404 million in sales for the 12 months ended December 31, 2016. However, net loss widened to $514.64 million from $372.89 million a year earlier, hurt by higher costs.

Snapchat co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy are about to become billionaires.

The founders will maintain tight control over Snap's stock through a unique three-share class structure. Existing investors will have one vote for each of their shares, while new investors will have no voting rights. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Credit Suisse and Allen & Company are the joint bookrunners on the deal.