Project Abstract (2017)

Snapchat, an app which allows users to share pictures and videos, is growing at an unprecedented rate, quickly gaining financial power in the already-immense social media industry. According to E-Marketer, in 2016 alone, the app’s value increased nearly 23 percent and is projected to grow another 13.6 percent in 2017, greater than all other major media firms. As such, Snapchat has announced that it will conduct an Initial Public Offering (IPO), a financial event where a company first begins trading on the stockmarket. Financial analysts, however, have a difficult time predicting the price of stocks post-IPO because of various market forces. Social media, an industry whose assets are primarily that of research and development, is especially difficult to value. Therefore, the current study aims to value Snapchat through past social media IPOs. By using a comparable firms approach designed to value companies similar to Snapchat, the study analyzed the firms Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, LinkedIn, and Tencent Holdings Inc. to determine the efficacy of different valuation techniques known as comparable firm multiples. Based on past research, this study used five comparable firm multiples which were deemed most accurate and appropriate for evaluating the social media industry. By using the multiples to project IPO price and calculate pricing errors for each of the five firms, this research will determine the most effective multiple. Thus, the study provides a technique that individual and institutional investors can apply to determine whether to invest in Snapchat and other social media firms.

Finding Value in Snapchat: A Comparable Firms Approach to Social Media IPOs