Is Snap an Acquisition Target?

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Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) just came public last week in its initial public offering (IPO) and everything looked great at first. Since the IPO, the stock has dropped below where it entered the market, at $23.50. But as shares continue to drop, is Snap becoming more of an acquisition target?

At the current price level, Snap is valued at roughly $25 billion, which is still a sizable acquisition for any interested party.

The biggest candidates potentially looking at buying Snap are Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB).

Previously, Microsoft picked up LinkedIn to add to its platform in a social media sense, which seems to be a natural extension of its business. At first glance, Microsoft might not be able to use the camera application, but by acquiring the platform Microsoft could secure the advertising contracts and content that gets streamed through it, and then repurpose it.

There were rumors swirling for years that Alphabet had been looking to acquire Twitter, after its social media platform, Google+, fell through. Snap would be an avenue for Alphabet to pursue its social media aspirations, not to mention Google’s ad service would be an ideal partner with Snap to further monetize its platform. Alphabet’s smartphone, the Pixel, could further partner with the app.

Facebook has long been the king of social media, and it is not above copying or buying out its competition to keep its throne. The company bought Instagram a few years ago for a cool $1 billion and WhatsApp for $22 billion. Through each of these subsidiaries, Facebook has been able to copy or emulate rival platforms, like Snapchat and its stories feature. Not to mention, Instagram and Snapchat filters are very similar, but Snapchat stands above by offering dog lenses and geofilters. As long as Instagram can keep pace with Snapchat, Facebook need not acquire, but keep in mind that this could be a very valuable platform to its competitors.

Some might throw around names like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) as a potential acquirer of Snap. However Tim Cook seemingly has no aspirations for social media, and this has been reflected in Apple’s minimalist strategy toward social media.

It is worth mentioning that Snapchat could be a very difficult acquisition. Specifically what could prove difficult in any acquisition of Snap is gaining the approval of voting shareholders. And as we know, none of the 230 million Class A shares issued in the offering have voting rights. This means that any acquisition that might be in the cards would have to jive with CEO Evan Spiegel and his executive team.

Considering that Spiegel set up the IPO as such, it could be interpreted that he wants to maintain a severe amount of control on the company and might not be willing to let it go. Or if so, for a sizable chunk of change.

For some background: each Class B share is entitled to one vote and each Class C share is entitled to 10 votes. The Class C common stock, which is held by the founders, each of whom is an executive officer and a director of the company, represents roughly 88.5% of the voting power.

Shares of Snap were last seen down 11% at $21.08, with a consensus analyst price target of $15.50 and a 52-week trading range of $20.84 to $29.44.

Microsoft was trading at $64.67, with a 52-week range of $48.04 to $65.91 and a consensus price target of $69.48.

Alphabet shares were at $832.27. The consensus price target is $974.00, and the 52-week range is $663.28 to $841.95.

Facebook traded at $137.31, in a 52-week range of $104.40 to $138.37. The consensus price target is $159.00.

Shares of Apple were at $139.77, with a consensus price target of $143.25 and a 52-week range of $89.47 to $140.28.