Snap Shareholders Can Pursue Claims IPO Hid Crucial Facts

(Bloomberg) -- Investors who claim they were deceived when Snapchat went public last year will get a chance to pursue damages in court.

Snap Inc., the maker of an application for ephemeral messages and videos, lost its bid to dismiss a securities lawsuit stemming from its initial public offering in March 2017. The next step for shareholders is to request class-action status, which would give them additional leverage to negotiate a settlement.

The investors allege that prior to the IPO, Snap didn’t reveal how much competition from Instagram, the photo-sharing app, was hurting its growth in the second half of 2016. They also say Snap failed to disclose a sealed whistle-blower lawsuit by a former employee who claimed inaccuracies in the company’s calculation and reporting of daily active users. In addition, they said Snap misrepresented its use of “growth hacking," the practice of sending push notifications to subscribers to drive up daily-user count.

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Thursday’s order allowing the case to proceed was issued by U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson in Los Angeles. Snap declined to comment on the ruling.

The case is In re: Snap Inc. Securities Litigation, 17-cv-03679, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

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