The acquisition offer Snapchat turned down from Facebook was significantly bigger than $3 billion.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Snapchat
A leaked email from the Sony Pictures hack indicates Snapchat set aside .11% of its stock for former Apple head of iOS Scott Forstall to be an advisor:
Michael Lynton, Sony Pictures’ CEO, is a Snapchat board member, so when his email was stolen by hackers protesting the release of The Interview, sensitive Snapchat information came to light. WikiLeaks recently made those emails easier to access.
When asked about the company’s relationship with Forstall, Snapchat didn’t deny the connection, simply replying “We have a number of advisors, but we don’t comment on the specifics of their relationship with the company”.
In February 2014, Snapchat granted stock options to a number of key employees. For example, former VP of engineering Peter Magnusson who was poached from Google butended up leaving 6 months later, was slated to get 0.5% of Snapchat. Several software engineers were granted 0.022%.
But given Forstall’s prestigious pedigree and fame for leading Apple’s iOS division, he was granted a wopping .11% fully-dilluted for merely being an advisor, with the options vesting over 24 months.
If Forstall completes his vesting schedule, that stake would be worth $16.5 million judging by the $15 billion valuation Snapchat was recently reported to be raising money at. And given Snapchat’s strong momentum, Forstall’s equity could be worth much more soon.
Other surprises that came out of the emails when they originally leaked in December include that:
- The acquisition offer Snapchat turned down from Facebook was significantly bigger than $3 billion
- Snapchat has explored the idea of a music feature
- Snapchat spent $30 million to acquire AddLive’s synchronous video tech,
- Snapchat bought Scan’s QR code scanning system that would power QR Snaptags for $50 million
- Snapchat bought eyeglass computer startup Vergence Labs for $15 million
Gawker was the one who intially reported the acquisition was for a lot more than $3 billion:
One of last year's great moments in undeserved ego was Snapchat rejecting billions of dollars from Facebook, and allegedly Google, too. Now, straight out of leaked Sony emails obtained by Gawker, we know it was more than the reported number.
The rumor that Snapchat had in fact, somehow, rejected a bid of more than $3 billion (as much as $4 billion) was first reported by Valleywag, and corroborated by a tweet from investor and tech media bigshot Om Malik. It was repeated (and debated) by outlets including The Verge and the New Yorker.
Today, some closure: in an exchange between Sony Entertainment CEO and Snapchat investor Michael Lynton and Malcolm Gladwell (rich people inboxes are not like ours!), Gladwell asks Lynton about the widely rumored number: "Turned down 3 bil??? Are they insane?" Lynton won't tell Gladwell the exact figure—but he lets Gladwell know that they turned down even more: "if you knew the real number you would book us all a suite at Bellvue. [sic]" "Good lord," Gladwell responds.