Mark Zuckerberg allegedly dangled a $3 billion carrot in front of ephemeral photo app Snapchat, but CEO Evan Spiegel didn’t bite. According to The Wall Street Journal, Zuckerberg personally approached Spiegel with a cash offer, but the Facebook CEO, who is considered one of the most powerful figures in Silicon Valley, was ultimately turned down. Apparently Snapchat’s 23-year-old CEO feels his platform will grow big enough to justify more than three Instagrams.
WSJ’s report comes just as Snapchat is apparently being wooed by investors and other potential acquisition offers. One potential investor, Chinese e-commerce giant Tencent Holdings, is reportedly leading an investment group that would value Snapchat at $4 billion or more; an acquisition or investment won’t even be considered by Spiegel until early next year, giving the platform a few more months of growth over the busy holiday period—about the time new teens will be getting new phones.
The thing about Snapchat is that it doesn’t even generate revenue, but its immense popularity is making it one of the market’s hottest commodities. That, in turn, is causing Spiegel to resist some very generous offers. Facebook’s CEO apparently made a previous offer of $1 billion, but was obviously turned down; his second $3 billion all-cash offer was likewise rebuffed. There’s no indication whether Zuckerberg will respond with an even larger offer. The WSJ said Facebook is particularly interested in Snapchat because of its teenage demographic, and how tightly its associated with mobile.
In just three months, from June to September, Snapchat usage surpassed 350 million messages per day, underlining how smitten users are with its disappearing concept. With seemingly no popularity ceiling in sight, who knows what kind of offers Spiegel will get in the next few months—$3 billion, it seem, is just not enough.