‘Right now we’re just celebrating’: Inside Snap’s crazy $33 billion IPO

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The New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.
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Hollis Johnson

NEW YORK – Cheers erupted from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday as cofounders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy rang the opening bell to announce Snap’s hotly anticipated IPO.

The Snapchat maker’s debut is the first tech IPO of the year and the largest tech deal since Alibaba went public in 2014.

Snap had priced its IPO at $17 per share, but demand pushed the opening price to $24 at a $33 billion valuation.

Snap’s share price closed at $24.48 on its first day of trading, a 44% increase from its original IPO price.

Back at the company’s Los Angeles headquarters, employees celebrated the IPO with doughnuts and champagne.

On the floor of the exchange, Snap executives and early employees clapped, took selfies, and hugged each other.

“Right now we’re just celebrating,” Snap’s chief financial officer, Drew Vollero, told Business Insider after the stock began trading on Thursday.

Here’s what it was like inside Snap’s blockbuster IPO.


A giant Snap Inc. banner adorned the the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, signaling the company’s hotly anticipated IPO.

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Hollis Johnson

Snap signage was everywhere inside the exchange floor.

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Company execs and early employees were given a roped-off area up front to watch cofounders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy ring the opening bell.

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Hollis Johnson

NYSE President Tom Farley accompanied Spiegel (center) and Murphy (left) onto the exchange floor just before the market opened at 9:30 a.m.

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The cofounders stood in front of their employees and the press for a brief time.

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Hollis Johnson

And Spiegel signed the NYSE’s “Book of Distinguished Guests.”

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Spiegel, 26, is usually photographed wearing a white v-neck T-shirt and jeans, but he dressed up for his company’s big day. His shares in Snap are worth $6.47 billion.

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Bobby Murphy, 28, cofounded Snapchat with Spiegel in 2011. Murphy’s stake in Snap is now worth $5.6 billion. He serves as chief technology officer.

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A throng of reporters converged as Spiegel and Murphy were led up to ring the ceremonial bell.

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Superstar model Miranda Kerr, who is engaged to Spiegel, was on the exchange floor.

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Reuters

She posted behind-the-scenes footage on her Snapchat account. Snap gave the NYSE its own Snapbot vending machine, which dispenses pairs of its Spectacles camera glasses.

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Snapchat

Spiegel smiled as he looked out over the exchange floor and whispered something to Murphy. (The NYSE’s president took the opportunity to take a selfie.)

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After the bell was rung, shares opened for trading nearly two hours later at 11:19 a.m. after a period of “price discovery,” during which traders on the floor of the exchange tried to corral demand for the stock.

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Traders buzzed as orders came in.

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Glenn Carell, director of NYSE floor operations for Global Trading Systems, told Business Insider that the price discovery took a long time because of heavy demand from buyers who didn’t get allocations they wanted in the IPO itself. Carell expected the stock to end its first day of trading about $24 or $25 a share.

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Snap surged in its debut to $24, up about 41% from the IPO price of $17 apiece. “That’s crazy,” CFO Drew Vollero was overheard saying from the exchange floor as shares surged.

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Hollis Johnson

Snap’s Spectacles glasses were a common sight on the exchange floor.

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Some Snap employees wore bright yellow ties.

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Nick Bell, Snap’s VP of content, was one of the company’s executives in attendance.

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Another executive spotted on the floor was Imran Khan, Snap’s chief strategy officer, who helped lead the deal. He previously helped lead Alibaba’s IPO in 2014.

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Reuters

Snap employees hung out on the exchange floor well past the share price listing. Several wore Spectacles.

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Hollis Johnson

Snap VP of Hardware Engineering Steve Horowitz wore a rare clear pair of Spectacles, which the company doesn’t sell.

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Hollis Johnson

Snap closed at $24.48 on its first day of trading, a 44% increase from its original IPO price.

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