Monday, March 6, 2017

Here's Why NBCUniversal Dropped $500M On Snap

NBCUniversal has snapped up a $500 million stake in the tech industry’s latest social media darling.

According to USAToday, NBCUniversal's investment in Snap Inc., as part of its IPO Thursday, not only expands parent company Comcast's growing digital empire, but also strengthens Snapchat's aims to land big-name content on the popular app.

Snap had its initial public offering Thursday and shares, originally priced at $17 per share, opened at $24. On Friday Snap (SNAP) shares rallied another 11% to $27.09.

The investment is part of NBCUniversal's evolving digital content strategy. "We will continue to be aggressive as digital content consumption increases," CEO Steve Burke said Friday in the letter to employees, a copy of which was provided to USA TODAY.

"Investing in Snap is a key step in that direction. ... It is rare to have the opportunity to invest at this stage in a company as visionary and dynamic as Snap, and it is a compliment that they chose NBCU as a partner."

NBC has built a growing relationship with Snap. During the Summer Olympics, NBC and Buzzfeed partnered on a Discover channel on the app that generated more than two billion views, Burke says.The Voice, Saturday Night Live and E1 News' The Rundown have all had Snapchat series and The Voice is currently conducting a Snapchat contest for a chance to appear on the show and audition for its next season.  "We expect to launch even more Snapchat shows with additional NBCU brands in the coming weeks," he said.

NBCUniversal's stake is the only one made by a strategic media investor and the company plans to hold its stake for at least 12 months, according to CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin, who first reported the investment.

Counting the Snap investment, NBCUniversal has invested more than $1.5 billion in digital businesses over the last 18 months, Burke says. Those investments include $400 million in Buzzfeed and $200 million in Vox Media, and the acquisition of youth and amateur sports app SportsEngine for an undisclosed sum in July 2016.

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