China's Tencent takes 12% stake in Snap as shares plunge

Snap Inc. Looking to Start Paying Top Creators

China's Tencent takes 12% stake in Snap as shares plunge

The Venice, California-based firm, whose March stock market debut was the hottest of any tech stock in years, reported revenue and user growth for the third quarter well below Wall Street expectations as it struggles to compete with Facebook Inc's Instagram.

For the calendar year, Snap told investors it has racked up a staggering $3.1bn in losses, though the company claims most of that is from stock-related charges it took around its March IPO (side note: Snap shares are now trading at $12.90, almost half the price they fetched on their first day of trading).

"As a result of our ownership structure, Tencent and Snap are not obligated to disclose changes in Tencent's ownership of our Class A common stock, so there can be no assurance that you, or we, will be notified of any such changes". Following the transaction, the insider now owns 9,596,464 shares in the company, valued at approximately $119,955,800. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 2,533,598 shares of company stock worth $35,540,362.

Tencent is the massive Chinese firm behind a number of companies, most notably the messaging program WeChat. Tencent is the largest social media and gaming company in China.

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Snap's stock was down 8 percent in pre-market trading at around 7:30 a.m. ET after falling 16 percent in Tuesday after-market trading following a disappointing earnings report, which saw the company miss revenue estimates and post slowing user growth.

Daily active users rose 17% year-over-year to 178mln in the three months to end September, but dropped from the 173 million in the second quarter.

But while its WeChat business remains largely limited to China, Tencent over the past few years has lifted its global profile with several big deals, including acquisitions of the game developer Epic Games Inc. and minority stakes in electric-vehicle maker Tesla Inc. and videogame company Activision Blizzard Inc. What that means is still unclear, but Tencent is making a big bet. We have since learned a lot of other things about the company, including the fact that Snap now has a new big-time investor. In 2013 it invested in Snap through an affiliate.

Apart from Tencent, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Baidu Inc have poured cash from a decade of growth in China into buying stakes in USA firms.

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Also read: Snap wants Grandma to join the millennials on Snapchat (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/snap-charges-less-for-ads-as-facebook-makes-more-2017-11-07).

Snap shares skidded 18 percent to $12.38 at 1800 GMT, as the news on Tencent failed to stem its decline.

-Saumya Vaishampayan and Georgia Wells contributed to this article.

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