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Snap Inc.'s stock price may have fallen to just over $6 a share — down about 70 percent from where the stock started publicly trading — but even this low price shouldn't fool investors, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Friday.
"Do not be tempted by Snap's $6-and-change share price. It's not a bargain," he warned. "At more than five times next year's sales [estimates], you could argue it's actually fairly expensive. And, of course, there are some alarming long-term trends here."
For Cramer, host of "Mad Money," the most worrisome thing about the Snapchat parent is its cash generation. When Snap went public in early 2017 with nearly $1 billion on its balance sheet, that was the last thing investors were worried about, but lately, "Snap's cash hoard has been slowly dwindling," he said.
Since the second quarter of 2017, when Snap had $3.24 billion in cash, its cash balance has declined by double digits every quarter, falling to $1.4 billion as of its latest quarterly report.
Worse, the company's cash from operating activities — what its core business earns, minus some major expenditures — has been shrinking by bigger and bigger amounts. And while some of that money is being invested in growth, most of it is funding the social media company's day-to-day operations, Cramer said.
"As we've watched the company struggle and the stock go into freefall, I've started to wonder if Snap has enough money," he said. "Just keeping the lights on at Snapchat is costing these guys a fortune. That's not good."
While Snap currently has no debt, a business that drains cash instead of generating it presents a "huge problem," the "Mad Money" host continued.
The proximate cause, he explained, is that Snap spends a fortune on the cloud: with hundreds of millions of users uploading and downloading Snapchat content every day, the parent company has to pay for the digital space.
And even though Snap's management laid out some lofty goals for the year ahead, namely turning a profit and stemming the company's free cash flow losses, Snapchat's total number of daily active users is now declining, Cramer warned.
"Snap's growth is evaporating before our very eyes," he said.
Add in Snap's slowing revenue growth — up 44 percent in the latest quarter, down from 72 percent in the year prior and 285 percent at the IPO — and some high-level executive departures, and Snap's future looks murky to Cramer.
"Until Snap gives us some reason to believe in a turnaround, it's an ill-advised decision to buy the stock," he concluded.
Shares of Snap ended Friday's trading session up 1.72 percent at $6.51, dipping slightly in after-hours trading.