Nerdy Google has failed at social time and time again, so it considered buying teen sensation Snapchat. The search giant held informal talks with Snap and floated an offer of $30 billion in 2016 before Snap’s last funding round, and just before its IPO this year, according to Business Insider’s Alex Heath. That offer was apparently an open secret inside Snap, and was on the table after the IPO, too.
But Snap’s notoriously independent CEO Evan Spiegel has apparently showed no interest in selling out to Google or anyone else. That’s despite the startup’s market cap slipping to around $15 billion after soaring as high as $30 billion when it IPO’d in May.
News of Google’s interest helped Snap’s share price climb around 2.3 percent today. The uptick comes after weeks of decline due to lockup expiration finally allowing insiders to sell stock, and strong growth for Facebook’s Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status clones of Snapchat.
Google declined to comment to Business Insider and Snap told TechCrunch “these rumors are false.” It’s possible that Google’s interest was very preliminary, and likely never rose to Snap’s higher ranks. It’s standard for startups to explore alternative paths before taking significant funding rounds or going public.
Google’s growth-stage investment fund CapitalG ended up investing in Snap after the 2016 talks went nowhere, contributing to the round valuing the “camera company” at $20 billion. The organizations have long been buddy-buddy. Google chairman Eric Schmidt was an adviser to Spiegel, Snap runs Google’s office software suite and Snapchat has committed to spending $2 billion on Google Cloud hosting over the next five years.
At the time of the May 2016 choice to go with raising money instead of being acquired, Snap looked unchallenged in the full-screen Stories social media game. But in August, Instagram’s soon to be wildly successful Stories clone launched, which has diverted growth, mind share and advertisers from Snap ever since.