By Paul J. Lim
March 2, 2017

On its first day as a public company, Snap shares were quickly snapped up, soaring 44% to a price of $24.48 by the close of trading—a more-than-respectable showing for one of the most anticipated tech IPOs in recent memory.

But the first Wall Street analyst to issue a rating on the stock says Snap shares should have moved about 50% in the opposite direction from Thursday morning’s initial price of $17.

Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research Group thinks Snap, creator of the popular Snapchat photo-sharing and instant messaging app, is really only worth $10 a share based on 2017 year-end financial projections. “As the stock priced well above this level in its IPO, we rate its shares Sell,” Wieser said in his March 2 report.

“Snap is a promising early stage company with significant opportunity ahead of itself,” he went on. “Unfortunately, it is significantly overvalued given the likely scale of its long-term opportunity and the risks associated with executing against that opportunity.

In particular, Wieser argues that the Snap is an “upstart” facing serious competition from much more established rivals—a not-so-subtle nod to Facebook FACEBOOK INC.


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, which recently launched Instagram stories—which competes directly with Snapchat’s video feature. Though just six months old, Instagram Stories has nearly as many users as Snapchat.

And Weiser is not the only analyst with an eye on Snap’s rivals. Snap’s competition—particularly from Facebook—is “overwhelming,” finds Ali Mogharabi, an equity analyst for Morningstar. “Facebook’s Instagram may emerge as a substitute for Snapchat,” he wrote in a research report that was issued on Thursday.

While Mogharabi says the company is in a position to begin to attract advertising dollars, more established and dominant companies such as Facebook and Alphabet[/f500link ignore=true] ALPHABET INC.


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“will probably continue to take more digital ad dollars over time.”

Mogharabi is a little more generous than Wieser in his assessment of Snap’s value, but he thinks the stock is still only worth $15 a share. That’s almost 40% below the share price as of Thursday’s close.

If you want to know how he really feels about the stock, just look at the headline his report is running under on Morningstar.com: “Snap Probably Not the Next Facebook.”

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