Snapchat owner's stock leaps 41% on U.S. stock market debut

Brendan Mc Dermid | Reuters

Snap Inc. priced its initial public offering at $17 a share on Wednesday and Snap shares will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Thursday.

After adding 36 million daily active users during the first half of a year ago, Snapchat picked up just 15 million in the second half.

CEO Evan Spiegel rung the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, signaling the company's public debut, a crowd of protesters gathered outside its Venice Beach, Calif., headquarters.

Snapchat, which became wildly popular with young smartphone users keen to share messages that don't linger, is seen by some in the social media world as a winning bet like Facebook, and by others as a lackluster performer like Twitter.

Nicole Bullock, the United States equities correspondent for the Financial Times, people were excited about the float because there had been a drought of big tech companies listing for the last few years. Snap has been valued at nearly $24 billion. Facebook's first day on the market showed higher stock prices ($42.05 per share) but came back with an 11 percent increase.

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While Snap's IPO boosted the net worth of other Snapchat executives, it pales in comparison to the founders' newfound riches.

Spiegel and Murphy will maintain tight control over Snap's stock through a unique three-share class structure. "Instagram's Stories feature is a direct competitor and will continue to take market share".

"While I've enjoyed Snap's journey with my partners as an early investor, I have the unexpected bonus of sharing the experience with my children", Eggers wrote in the blog post.

Despite concerns that enthusiasm for the Snapchat app was beginning to fade among youth, Breitbart News predicted Snap would go public at the high end of its pricing range and bank a staggering $3.2 billion in its IPO. The company suffered losses of $515 million in 2016, up from a loss of $373 million the year before. Snapchat makes some money from ads, and their newly released special glasses, Spectacles - though the product hasn't made much of an impact on the bottom line. Timothy Sehn, Snap's vice president of engineering, is now worth at least $165.3 million on his 6.7 million shares in the company.

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