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Could Snapchat’s Profit Warning Make it a Takeover Target?

Not a great day for Snapchat.

Yesterday, the company issued a guidance note to the SEC which advised that Snapchat’s overall revenue would miss the targets that it communicated in its Q1 earnings update, which it reported just last month.

As per Snap:

Since we issued guidance on April 21, 2022, the macroeconomic environment has deteriorated further and faster than anticipated. As a result, we believe it is likely that we will report revenue and adjusted EBITDA below the low end of our Q2 2022 guidance range.”

Given the various disruptions around the world – from the war in Ukraine, to the ongoing pandemic, to labor shortages in several regions – it’s not a huge surprise that Snap is facing tougher operating conditions in this respect. But the fact that Snap has issued this guidance so soon after announcing its targets is a concern, and points to, as Snap notes, a rapidly changing landscape, particularly for platforms that rely on European income and brand advertising.

The market was quick to respond, with Snap shares declining by as much as 41%, erasing $15 billion in market value from the company.

But it wasn’t just Snap that was impacted. Given Snapchat’s guidance, and the expanded impact that these same factors will likely have for other social apps, Meta, Twitter, Google and Pinterest all also saw declines, with billions chipped off the value of digital advertising providers.

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What the full impacts of the current market conditions will be, we don’t know, but the assumption is that Snap’s not alone in taking a substantial hit on advertising spend, while also battling rising costs, amid the fluctuating economic situation, primarily across Europe.

The decline has opened the door for various avenues of speculation, including what it will mean for Twitter, currently in the midst of a takeover by Elon Musk, and whether Snap, at a lower price than its 207 IPO, could now attract new suitors looking to get in on the AR wave.

One of those suitors could actually be Meta – which seems unlikely, especially given the pressure the company is under over previous anti-competitive takeover activity. But it could be a way for Meta to buy up a significant player in the AR market, as part of its broader metaverse push.

Meta, of course, offered $3 billion to acquire Snapchat back in 2013, as the app was on its initial rise, which Snap CEO Evan Spiegel notoriously declined. And while almost a decade has passed since then, Snap’s presence in the space is still significant, while its nous for AR development, and viral trends based on the same, is unmatched, which could be an attractive lure for Meta, which will soon be looking for the best angles to pitch its own AR glasses to the masses.

Meta Spectacles would likely sell a lot more than Ray Ban Stories, and any variation of the same, while the added power of Meta would significantly boost Snap’s own AR ambitions.

To be clear, there are no internal leaks or rumors that suggest that this is going to happen, but at a low ask, and on the brink of the next stage of digital connection, Snap will no doubt be an enticing proposition to various potential suitors.

Snapchat also continues to grow, and in its SEC guidance note, it also points to future potential:

“We remain excited about the long-term opportunity to grow our business. Our community continues to grow, and we continue to see strong engagement across Snapchat, and continue to see significant opportunities to grow our average revenue per user over the long term.

As a result of the current challenges, however, Snap will slow its pace of hiring for the rest of the year, which could eventually impact the development of its own AR tools and options, as others continue to advance in the space.

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But again, all platforms reliant on digital ads will likely be feeling the same pinch, and it’ll be interesting to see if others follow

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