A fading share price, a young chief executive adjusting to life in the spotlight, and concerns that the tech company he leads has been overhyped. This is the situation currently facing Evan Spiegel, the 27-year-old founder of the Snapchat. Snap Inc, the messaging app’s parent company, has not enjoyed the start to the stock market it hoped for when it went public in March at a $24bn (£18.5bn) valuation, the biggest technology float for years. Shares spiked on the app’s debut but have since dropped below their initial offering price, the maiden set of results was disappointing, and analysts have turned bearish on the stock. The share price is likely to come under more pressure in the coming weeks as insiders are allowed to sell their holdings for the first time. Many are likely to cash in. At this moment, there might be few reasons to be positive about Snap. Growth is slowing and users are apparently flocking to rival apps. On current trends, much-maligned Twitter will be worth more before long. But one case for the defence may lie in a feeling of déjà vu. Snapchat co-founders Bobby Murphy, left, and CEO Evan Spiegel Credit: Richard Drew/AP Photo Snap’s early existence as a public company bears a remarkable similarity to another tech firm which endured a torrid first few months: Facebook. Five years ago, the world’s biggest social network’s $100bn IPO had jaws dropping, but before long it was Facebook that was dropping. The rapid rise of smartphones, which the company had failed to spot, appeared to pose an existential threat to the social network’s business model of selling adverts on desktop computers. Four months after its flotation in May 2012, Facebook’s shares had halved – a bleaker situation than the one facing Snap, whose shares are down a mere 15pc in three and a half months. Expiring share lock-up periods for employees and early investors, which Snapchat is about to face, were disastrous for Facebook, sending its share price tumbling repeatedly. However, its share price recovered the year after and then rocketed. They are now worth more than four times what Facebook floated it and the company has a valuation of almost $500bn. Mobile advertising, which was seen as its big weak spot when shares were falling, now accounts for 85pc of all ad revenue, a stunning turnaround. The story should offer a glimmer of hope to Snap investors, who have now lost money even if they bought in at the IPO price. Even a poor imitation of Facebook’s resurgence would be welcome news. But such an event is unlikely. For all the similarities in Facebook and Snap’s early months on the market, the two are not comparable. Credit: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters When Facebook went public, it was much bigger than Snap, with more than 500m daily active users, against 166m for Snapchat. It was also profitable, making hundreds of millions each quarter, while Snap still expects to burn cash for years. Even as Facebook was struggling, it was signing up new users hand over fist. The questions were about whether it could make money from them. The reverse is true of Snap. The company, only six years after it was formed in 2011, has become a remarkably -slick advertising operation, with Spiegel hiring highly capable executives from much bigger tech companies. Advertising revenues almost quadrupled in the first quarter of the year. But instead, investors and analysts are instead worried about a slowdown in user growth. Only 8m new daily users were added in the first three months of the year. But the biggest difference between Snapchat and Facebook was that Facebook did not have Facebook to battle against. Snapchat has been relentlessly targeted by Facebook in recent months, with the bigger company shamelessly stealing Snapchat’s best features and adding them to Facebook, its Messenger app and Instagram. All credit to Spiegel, who is overseeing an impressive level of innovation such as its new location-based maps feature. But for Snap to rebound, he will need to create something that Facebook can’t steal. Snap’s market struggles may bear a resemblance to Facebook’s five years ago. But the company shouldn’t bank on a repeat performance.
German carmaker BMW on Sunday rejected media reports that the emissions treatment systems in its vehicles do not work effectively and that it colluded with rivals on their design. Der Spiegel magazine reported on Friday that BMW, VW (VOWG_p.DE), Audi and Porsche may have colluded to fix the prices and designs of diesel emissions treatment systems and other vehicle parts. "Cars of the BMW Group are not being manipulated and are in line with the applicable legal requirements," BMW said in a statement.
German carmaker BMW on Sunday rejected media reports that the emissions treatment systems in its vehicles do not work effectively and that it colluded with rivals on their design. Der Spiegel magazine reported on Friday that BMW, VW