Snapchat stock finishes up 44% on first day

Snap has enough demand to push its IPO valuation as high as $25 billion

The six-year-old startup, beloved by millennials, is the biggest US tech company to go public since Facebook, which was worth $104 billion at its 2012 IPO. "ORCRP0017755-topic.html" class="local_link" >Snapchat messaging app generated the largest initial public offering in Southern California history on Wednesday, raising at least $3.4 billion while valuing the firm at $23.8 billion.

Snap is the first U.S. IPO to exclusively sell nonvoting stock, depriving shareholders of a say in corporate matters entirely.

Twitter, which is struggling to revive lagging user growth and revenue, cited Snap among the many internet companies that compete fiercely for the same users.

Evan Spiegel is already a very rich man.

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Dozens of other Snap investors could become overnight millionaires.

Snap was expected to price its shares between $14 and $16, which would have valued the company between $19.5 billion and $22.3 billion. Shares will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SNAP.

The Snap IPO gives the company's co-founders, CEO Evan Spiegel and CTO Bobby Murphy, stock holdings now worth around $5 billion each.

Meanwhile, Twitter's IPO in 2013 at $US26 per share yielded a $US14.2 billion market cap - but after an initial spike its stock has languished. The company's IPO ETF recently hit a 52-week high, and based on its market valuation, Snap will be a candidate for inclusion. Class A shares-the ones on offer at the NYSE-would hold no voting rights, potentially limiting requirements that its executives disclose their pay and information related to company operations. The company has signed multi-billion deals with Google and Amazon for their cloud computing powers.

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Snap's IPO valuation of $23.8 billion and 2016 revenue of $404.5 million gives a ratio of 58.8.

However, its net loss widened 38 percent a year ago.

It is now 39% down on its offer price - its user growth and other metrics consistently proving disappointing for investors. And when founders control a company's votes, they don't have to obsess as much about quarterly results. Now Snap just needs to turn those prospects into realities.

After adding 36 million daily active users during the first half of past year, Snapchat picked up just 15 million in the second half.

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