Alibaba Group Holdings is investing $200 million in photo-messaging app Snapchat, a source familiar with the deal said, striking its latest Silicon Valley deal as the Chinese ecommerce company builds up mobile services.
The investment values the company at around $15 billion, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the situation as saying. This places the four-year-old company into the top ranks of privately held startups.
Snapchat's latest valuation is a massive increase for a company that Facebook offered to buy in late 2013 for $3 billion.
Los Angeles-based Snapchat, which allows its more than 100 million users to send messages that disappear in seconds, had sought capital to extend its core service. In January, it began carrying videos and articles from mainstream media outlets such as CNN and ESPN, bringing Snapchat into closer competition with Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc.