Personal Finance

Why Snap Paid Over $200 Million for This Mapping Technology

Snap (NYSE: SNAP) recently acquired French social-mapping start-up Zenly in a $200 million plus deal.

In this segment from Motley Fool Money , the cast explains how Snap is integrating this purchase, how this plays into their strategy, and where the company sits today as a social media stock.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on June 23, 2017.

Ron Gross: Snapchat's corporate parent, Snap, has acquired French social-mapping start-up Zenly for $200 million in cash plus additional stock awards. David, what is Snap doing? What do they get here?

David Kretzmann: Earlier this week, they released a new feature within the Snapchat app called Snap Map --

Gross: Catchy.

Kretzmann: Yes. Whoever came up with that name deserves a raise. It's a location sharing feature within Snapchat, so you can see a map of your city or the world as a whole and you can see where your friends are, and the pictures and videos that they're sharing on Snapchat. You can also on that map see a heat map that shows certain pockets where a lot of people are sharing pictures and videos. So it might be a concert or some other big event in your area or around the world. So it brings a new social element into Snap. And it turns out they acquired Zenly about a month ago. They didn't just blindly copy those features, they actually acquired it, and it looks like they were pretty quick to integrate those features into the main Snapchat app.

Gross: I'm on record saying I wouldn't touch Snap with a ten-foot pole, probably not that surprising coming from of value guy. Where do you stand with the stock?

Kretzmann: The challenge for Snap is that the company has been very innovative, but it takes almost nothing for Facebook to copy those features across its multiple apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, or the core Facebook app. So Snapchat really has to innovate like this every quarter to stay ahead of Facebook. And if they can do that sustainably, sure, maybe the stock is good. But that's a big bet.

Jason Moser: The other thing to remember, too, is that if they get caught in any kind of a downward spiral here leading into this next quarter, I think at the end of July, they have a lock-up that expires, somewhere like 1.2 billion shares, I have to believe there are a lot of employees that are looking to cash out on this IPO in some capacity. And if they get into some kind of a downward spiral going into that, it could start to get pretty ugly for these guys coming into the end of 2017, if they don't really show a clear path to monetization, growth, and users, and a real value proposition for advertisers.

Gross: Simon, you're a growth guy. Are you a buyer of Snap right here?

Simon Erickson: [shakes head no]

Moser: Ladies and gentlemen, he's shaking his head.

Erickson: I don't know, I mean, Snap has such an opportunity to be the experience provider rather than it just a camera company. I mean, if you're there in person with your friends, you can monetize this. I haven't seen it yet, I don't think they have a clear business strategy yet.

Kretzmann: Yeah, I think competing against Facebook and staying ahead of Facebook is such a tall order that I would be cautious right now.

David Kretzmann owns shares of Facebook. Ron Gross owns shares of Facebook. Simon Erickson owns shares of Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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