A volatile start for shares in Snap

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WHEN Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, an app popular among teenagers for its disappearing messages, staged a public offering on March 2nd, Evan Spiegel, its 26-year-old boss, became a self-made billionaire. (Only John Collison of Stripe, an online payments startup, rivals him for such youthful tycoonery). Whether public-market investors will strike it rich remains to be seen. In its first day of trading Snap’s shares rose by 44%; they have since fallen by 16% from their peak, meaning around $5bn of market value vanished in days.

The volatility will probably continue. Optimists reckon that Snap’s market value could increase more than fourfold from around $26bn today as it adds users and advertisers. Very few large internet companies have gone public recently, which gives it tremendous scarcity value, says Roger Ehrenberg of IA Ventures, an early-stage investment firm.

But sceptics are growing in number. Every analyst who has started covering Snap’s stock has issued a negative rating. They question its high valuation and underline all the challenges. Snap’s growth has slowed in recent…Continue reading

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