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Report: Alibaba backing Snapchat at $15 billion valuation

Mar 11, 2015

Snapchat's latest round of funding has been the subject of many reports, citing many sources familiar with many situations. The latest, from Bloomberg's Serena Saitto, indicates the company is close to closing the round. According to the report, the photo and video sharing app maker is on track to raise $200 million in new funding from Alibaba (baba) at a valuation of $15 billion. Previous reports pitted the valuation as high as $19 billion.

According to VC Experts, Snapchat filed a Certificate of Incorporation in Delaware on February 13 to authorize the sale of 21 million new shares in a Series F round of funding. By comparison, Snapchat's Series D authorized five million new shares and its Series E authorized 42 million new shares. That Series E, worth $485 million, valued the company at $10 billion. It closed just three months ago.

Aside from the jump in valuation and the size of the round, the funding would be notable because of its terms. As reported this week by PandoDaily, Snapchat does not plan to sell preferred stock to investors in this round. This means new investors would be forced to buy common stock, which gives them little in the way of downside protection or voting rights in the event of a sale or failure. It also means Snapchat gives up less control of the company than if it sold preferred shares.

At $15 billion, Snapchat would be tied for the third-most valuable private startup on Fortune's Unicorn List. Since the list was published in January, several large companies have been reported to be raising funds at notably higher valuations, including Pinterest and Airbnb.

A Snapchat spokesperson declined to comment.

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