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Snap Shares Rally Day After IPO After NBCU Discloses Investment

Variety logo Variety 3/3/2017 Todd Spangler
© Provided by Variety

Snap Inc., the owner of Snapchat, continued its bull run on Friday, with the stock climbing as much as 20% after Comcast’s NBCUniversal said it had invested $500 million in the company.

Shares of Snap reached a high of $29.44 in morning trading after the NBCU investment news, before settling down to around $27 per share by midday. That’s still up more than 10% from the closing price Thursday, after Snap’s boffo initial public offering in which the stock ended up 44% for the day.

The company — which posted a net loss of $515 million for 2016 — has a market cap of more than $30 billion, making it currently worth more than Twitter, Dish Network, CBS, Viacom, Discovery Communications or American Airlines. Snapchat, the vanishing-message and media app popular among teens and young adults, had 158 million daily active users on average in Q4 2016 although its sequential quarterly growth slowed last year.

NBCU CEO Steve Burke, in a memo to employees Friday that was distributed to media outlets, positioned the strategic investment in Snap as part of its overall strategy to drive digital revenue. That has included investing $400 million in BuzzFeed and $200 million in Vox Media.

NBCU struck a partnership with Snapchat last year, under which it has produced several original series keying off “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “The Voice,” “Saturday Night Live” and E! News’ “The Rundown.”

“We expect to launch even more Snapchat shows with additional NBCU brands in the coming weeks,” Burke wrote in the memo.

According to CNBC, which first reported the NBCU investment in Snap, the media conglomerate has agreed to retain its stock for at least one year following the IPO.

Snap is banking on deals with NBCU and others to drive up ad revenue from Snapchat Discover, the short-form media section of its app. In its prospectus, Snap said it paid content partners $58 million in 2016 under ad-revenue sharing pacts, up from $9.6 million in 2015.

In the weeks leading up to Thursday’s IPO, Snap announced a string of deals with media companies including DiscoveryA+E NetworksBBC Worldwide, the New York Times and Time Inc. Snapchat also is producing shows with Turner and ABC (including an aftershow for “The Bachelor”).

Evan Spiegel, Snap’s 26-year-old CEO, sold 16 million shares in the IPO, according to company SEC filings, garnering $272 million through the sale. CTO Bobby Murphy — who along with Spiegel control all shareholder voting rights in Snap — also sold 16 million shares. The two execs still own 211 million shares apiece, giving them each 44.4% of shareholder voting power, which are worth more than $5.5 billion at the current share price.

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