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Snap is getting destroyed because of its ‘unwillingness’ to work with Wall Street, analyst says

  • Snap's unwillingness to provide guidance will continue to "be a disservice to shareholders," said Jefferies analyst Brian Fitzgerald.
  • The social media company also is at odds with index firms over its multiple-class share structure.

Wall Street sets a high bar for Snap because the Snapchat parent won't give them any clues where to place it, analysts said.

Shares of Snap plunged 13 percent Friday trading to a new low after the company reported worse-than-expected second-quarter results, with the number of users added both fewer than anticipated and at a slower rate than the previous quarter.

One quarter ago, in its first-ever earnings report as a public company, Snap reported a revenue and user growth miss and the stock cratered 20 percent.

"The company's reluctance to provide guidance is driving the Street to make unachievable forecasts. This is turning strong quarterly performances into disappointments," Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White wrote in a note.

The absence of guidance is the latest example of Snap wanting Wall Street's money but not playing by Wall Street's rules. Snap remains at odds with index firms and investors over its multiple-class share structure that fails to give most shareholders a voting stake.

Jefferies analyst Brian Fitzgerald echoed White, saying that "even an overly conservative guidance would be appreciated" by shareholders, even if they don't have any say.

"Snap's unwillingness to provide Street guidance will continue to be a disservice to shareholders as estimates continue to fluctuate wildly and it introduces unneeded uncertainty into results," Fitzgerald wrote in a note.

The self-designated camera company is the latest extreme example of a trend where companies, includingFacebook and Google,list publicly with a multiple-class share structure. Companies' founders are able to retain a disproportionate level of control compared with how many shares they have.

Two index providers, the S&P Dow Jones and FTSE Russell, banned Snap shares from their indexes because Snap sells only shares that give investors no votes, meaning the index providers have zero control.

Snap's co-founders, CEO Evan Spiegel and chief technology officer Bobby Murphy, control "all stockholder decisions," according to regulatory filings, while shares listed on the stock exchange are non-voting stock.

The impasse with Wall Street comes despite Imran Khan serving as Snapchat's chief strategy officer. Khan was a top analyst at J.P. Morgan following the dot-com bubble, rising to prominence as the author of the renowned report "Nothing but Net." Snap was the biggest technology company to list publicly since Alibaba in 2014, which Khan at Credit Suisse helped lead to the biggest offering Wall Street had ever seen.

While a financial outlook in an earnings report can provide important insights on a company's business and help better manage Wall Street's forward expectations, it is not unusual for companies to omit earnings guidance when they release their quarterly financial results.

Google parent Alphabet does not provide any guidance to Wall Street. Amazon provides analysts a look at future revenues and operating income but does not give any earnings per share guidance. Microsoft provides insights on the future performance of its business segments but does not provide overall revenue and earnings guidance for the company.